A Bookworms Bookshelf

I read a lot, like most people that must be on this site, and much by accident, this blog came to life and now here I am, creating this blog. I'm also on a bunch of other sites as well so you can find me on them by clicking the links.

 

I like to use gifs a lot because they represent my feelings towards books a lot. I've read through a lot of reviews and as a result, I view books a little bit differently than how I used to. 

 

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Heart of Darkness

Heart of Darkness and the Congo Diary - Joseph Conrad

Let’s get right down to it folks: I hate this book. I hate it with a burning passion, and I’m experiencing severe dislike for my English teacher for making me read this pile of shit. She’s a lovely lady, but I don’t understand why she hates me because there’s no other reason as to why she would make me suffer through this book.

 

I know that this is considered to be some great literary masterpiece, and in the words of my teacher, an existentialist novel but watching paint dry is more interesting than this novella.

 

I’ve read a lot of books that were written in the 1900s or set in the 1900s and dealt with racism but none of those books have made me nearly as uncomfortable as Heart of Darkness did. I know, I know, racism is a thing but that doesn’t make me any less uncomfortable by the amount of times the n word was used throughout this novel, or the many times where black people are referred to as “savages,” “enemies.”

 

Moving beyond that, after reading this entire book, word for word, page for page, I cannot tell you not onething about it beyond what my teacher talked about in class. After reading one entire page, I couldn’t tell you what happened on that page. There is a problem here when I can’t tell you what a book is about after reading it. I have no recollection of any of the events that happened in this book.

 

The story didn’t really go anywhere, there wasn’t a point to it, it was just Marlow talking about an adventure that he had which nobody asked to listen to in the first place. By the end of the story, I don’t think anybody on the ship with Marlow, besides the other narrator, even listened to what he said. I know I’m supposed to care about the events that occur and all the symbolism and stuff, but I couldn’t bring myself to care at all.

This is supposed to be deep and meaningful because it talks about human nature and the darkness in our hearts and yada yada yada but I don’t care.

 

I locked myself up in my room for days on end so that I could focus on this novella and absorb it and understand it, and I cannot tell you what happens in this story. I can’t believe trees actually died so this piece of shit work could be printed on it.

At the Edge of Empire

The Death and Life of Zebulon Finch, Volume One: At the Edge of Empire - Daniel Kraus

This is the type of book where it's either your cup of tea, or it isn't. I personally enjoyed this book very much, from the writing, to the characters, I thought it was really interesting.

The main complaint with this book is that it dragged on and didn't go anywhere, and I can understand why. The purpose of this story is to tell the life of Zebulon Finch, as narrated by Zebulon himself. It takes you from his childhood, to when he ran away from home, to him becoming a gangster and so on.

I enjoyed the writing of the novel, as well as the pace. With the exception of Zebulon getting extremely horny every once in a while at the sight of an attractive girl, there wasn't any purple prose, there was enough to paint a picture and keep things interesting. Zebulon's narration of his life was witty and honest, he didn't sugarcoat anything, even if it meant showing him in a bad light.

Every person that Zebulon meets serves a purpose in shaping in his character, and all of these people come back to him throughout his life and change it again. Every character in the story is different, has different personalities and stands out, I was actually able to remember them throughout the story. Sometimes these characters turned out to be exactly how you thought they would be, and sometimes they were a surprise and turned out to be someone completely different.

I liked the fact that the story actually acknowledges that Zebulon breaks every law of science and actually makes an attempt to discover as to how Zebulon is still functioning even though he is dead. The story doesn't ignore the fact that Zebulon's body is decaying because he is dead, how the sun and hot lights affect him, how he looks compared to everyone else.

Not every character that is introduced in the story is meant to be liked, in fact, most of them are terrible people, and yet, I didn't find myself hating them the same way that I have a burning hatred for two dimensional characters in other novels. You could understand them, for example, the Barker, he was a terrible man, but it was hard to hate him. He was struggling to survive, just like everyone else was, he did what he had to in order to survive. Zebulon himself isn't a very likeable person to begin with, and yet throughout the story, I didn't find myself necessarily liking him, but I could understand him as well as why he did the things that he did. He tried to right his wrongs throughout the novel, he tried to become a better person despite the fact that he failed continually. Every character in this book changed in some way, whether it was for the better or for the worse, they changed, and personally, I felt the character arcs were perfect.

The situations that Zebulon found himself in were especially interesting, so interesting that I had to plan time to read this book because once I started I couldn't stop reading. It's not everyone's cup of tea, but I would recommend giving it a shot just to see if you're interested.

Reading progress update: I've read 6 out of 319 pages.

Tempted - Kristin Cast, P.C. Cast

Why am I torturing myself again? Why have I picked up this series again? Why didn't I just stop at book 5?

Reading progress update: I've read 112 out of 225 pages.

Saint Brigid's Bones: A Celtic Adventure - Philip Freeman

THIS DUDE FUCKED A FUCKING HORSE IM OUT GOODBYE CORMAC CANCELLED THIS IS TOO MUCH

Reading progress update: I've read 120 out of 432 pages.

Saint Anything - Sarah Dessen

Ames is sketchy af I feel so uncomfortable reading whenever he's present

Attack on Titan: Junior High 1

Attack on Titan: Junior High 1 - Saki Nakagawa, Hajime Isayama

4 stars because it was so funny it had me crying in the middle of Tim Hortons lordt.

Reading progress update: I've read 59 out of 336 pages.

Attack on Titan: Junior High 1 - Saki Nakagawa, Hajime Isayama

"Armin your psychopath friends are here!"

"Didn't I tell you not to let anyone in?"

"Yes I know but they were going to give your grandpa an ass-pounding son!"

Reading progress update: I've read 31 out of 336 pages.

Attack on Titan: Junior High 1 - Saki Nakagawa, Hajime Isayama

"Eren you're such a tool"
"This eraser is bigger than my anger issues."
"Is there anyone here who's not a future skinhead."
"You hair looks like a chia pet."

 

I'm fucking crying I cannot.

Sisters of Versaille

The Sisters of Versailles: A Novel (The Mistresses of Versailles Trilogy) - Sally Christie

I stopped reading this mostly because I had to return it to the library since I couldn't renew it but anyway.

I should have technically been able to read this book in a matter of two to three days, it wasn't very long, but it was so boring that I kept finding reasons to NOT read it. I love me some historical fiction, really, I do, but something needs to happen in order to keep my attention throughout the entire book.

Nothing happened in this book. Nothing. At all. Louise had sex with Louis a bunch of times, the two of them fell in love, and then Louis got the hots for her sister and she was heartbroken over it, and it went on. That was pretty much the whole story.

I hated the plot of this story, to be honest I'm not even sure there was any plot to begin with because I sure as hell couldn't see it. The story started off with Louise and we read about how she gets to Versailles and eventually becomes the kings mistress. And I was okay up until the point when she does becomes the kings mistress, and then it just goes down hill from there.

I have to read page after page of Louise fawning over Louis, and how great he was and how sweet, smart, and gentle. Pages of her describing what other people were wearing, and going into detail about the dresses of the ladies, it went on and on. I didn't care. It felt like my brain was leaking out through my ears. I was so happy whenever the story was being told from the point of view of any of the other sisters.

I want to talk about everything that I hated about this story but I can't because nothing happened, there is almost nothing for me to talk about. The pace of it was so slow it could've put me to sleep, which is probably why I read this before going to bed every night.

The characters were almost as uninteresting as the storyline. This book is narrated by five sisters, and you'd think that with five sisters, they'd all have different personalities, but no, they don't. They're all exactly the same, each and every one of them. They have the same voice, the same thoughts, and they're all fake as hell. They're supposed to be sisters but instead they shit talk one another behind each other's back like okay, real strong bond you've got there.

Like I get it, you vent to someone whenever a friend or family member or co-worker does something that upsets you but that wasn't even it, Louise's sisters were just straight up shit talking her.

All of the sisters are so painfully polite and nice to each other whenever they're together, and you know that they're huge fakes because of how they feel when you read the story from their point of view. The only one who actually stood out, was Pauline. Pauline wasn't fake, she was straight forward about what she wanted, and she'd get it. Pauline wanted to be the mistress of the king, Pauline wanted to be the most powerful woman in France, and no one was going to stop her.

Pauline didn't even have to try and replace Louise as the kings favourite because Louise is such a pushover, and so dull that all she did was get out of the way and let Pauline do whatever she wanted. Pauline wasn't kidding when she said Louise was stupid, I thought she was just being a bitch but the girl was right, Louise is stupid.

But I can't even defend Pauline because she dethroned herself in the end so I mean. Marie-Anne was trying to be Pauline except she wasn't very good at it, but this girl probably had the most interesting sex life out of all of them so you know what, power to her. At least Marie-Anne figured out how sex worked and got her husband to do it right.

Honestly, if it didn't have the name of which sister was narrating at the top of every chapter, I probably wouldn't have been able to figure out who was telling the story.

The minor characters were equally uninteresting, and they all had the same personality traits. If you can't have your main characters stand out, then you could at least have one minor character that really stood out, but no. All of the women had the same nasty characteristics, and all the men were trying to kiss the kings ass.

And lastly, the one thing that I felt was extremely unnecessary to this story was the letters that the sisters wrote to each other because they were so dull, and so repetitive, I felt like I was at the beginning of the novel each time I came across one. I ended up skipping all of them altogether because I just didn't care.

For a debut novel, it wasn't bad. It was extremely dull, and the characters were all dull and copies of one another, but the writing itself wasn't bad. That being said though, I would not suggest writing from five different point of views in your debut novel, because even if you think you can make your characters stand out from one another, you probably can't.

Reading progress update: I've read 80 out of 400 pages.

The Heir - Kiera Cass

we all know she's gonna pick kile just watch

Fire and Flood

Fire & Flood - Victoria Scott

A lot of people have been saying that this is almost exactly like the Hunger Games, and they're right, because it is. But unlike the Hunger Games, this makes no sense.

Characters:
Tella is a lot of things, but likeable isn't really on that list. She's so incredibly shallow and petty at the most inappropriate of times. Oh, and stupid. She is in the middle of a race to try and save her brother's life and the first thing that comes to mind for her when she meets Harper is how much she hates the girl because she's pretty. Sweetie you are pretty much in a survival show, focus on surviving oh my God. Tella is so focused on how everyone looks, she's so obsessed over it that she feels the need to mention it every few pages, move on! She has absolutely no idea how to survive in the wild, so she should have been dead after the first two days. 

Guy, just like his name, is a bland person. There is nothing about him that makes him stand out against other love interests in young adult novels, absolutely nothing. Hell, there was nothing that made him stand out against any of the other characters in the book. He stands around glaring and giving orders, and he and Tella have some weird romantic thing going on. For some reason they won't talk to each other about it so that they're on the same page because that makes too much sense and we need some angst up in here.

The other characters were also pretty uninteresting to be honest, I should've felt bad for them, or at least empathized with them, but I couldn't because I didn't care, the book didn't make me care. I cared more about the animals than I cared about the minor characters. There was nothing interesting about them, there was nothing that stood out, at all about any of them.

Titus can go rot in hell to be honest, he was garbage, and Tella should've sliced this dude up the first chance she got. He sexually assaults her, and Tella just completely brushes it off, she doesn't show any signs of it affecting her in any way at all, and I just, like no, stop. I have literally no words for how angry I was with how this book dealt with sexual assault.

Premise:
I don't know why anyone is competing in this race, some dude named Santiago messed with the forces of nature and the people working for him were like this is fucked up we should stop, and he was like no. So they decided to set fire to this lab holding all these animals, and Santiago's daughter died in the fire so he created this race to get back at the people who killed his daughter. Even though these people warned him that what they were doing was wrong. One race, fine, I guess I could accept that but who in the fuck was like, "This is brilliant, we should keep doing this," after it was over?

I don't know where any of these races take place, it's so vague about the locations, it just mentions the ecosystems and leaves it at that. And nobody bothers to even wonder where in the world they are. There are people in this race as young as 8, being away from school for 3 MONTHS, and no one has a problem with this? Maybe this is just me, but I'm fairly certain that someone is going to get suspicious when a kid disappears for three months, but that's none of my business.

And if you can pick anyone to compete in the race, please tell me why anyone would pick a goddamn child to compete in something like this?

Anyway
Let's talk about Tella though.

She finds a mysterious box in her room, with a message from someone telling her that they can cure her brother, even though doctors have already told her family that they can't. Who does this message come from? Tella doesn't know, she doesn't care, she just heads on out and does whatever the mysterious device in the box tells her because, fuck logic. How did this box get into her room in the first place? I don't know, and the book doesn't explain.

But anyway, she heads over to some empty museum, which sounds like she's about to get murdered, and finds some eggs, and instead of grabbing one and running, she stands around and looks at the eggs. She just looks at them, forget that it's a race, she's gonna take her time and describe each egg. And I'm somehow supposed to feel sorry for her when some girl nearly scalps her and steals the last egg.

Tella decides to chop off all of her hair because of the incident. She finds herself in a jungle, and it's a good thing that Contenders are allowed to team up because Tella would've been dead within 48 hours if they couldn't.

What about Guy? Guy is perfectly trained to survive in all of these terrains, how, I don't know? The book literally never talks about where he trained to survive in all four ecosystems. Are there any places that teach you hands on training for stuff like this that I don't know about? 

But lucky for Tella, she's able to make it halfway through the race through piggybacking off of everyone else around her.

Reading progress update: I've read 50 out of 320 pages.

Salt & Stone - Victoria Scott

@ Tella: 

 

i swear to god if i have to hear about how attractive Guy is one. more. time.

Sacrifice: A Celtic Adventure

Sacrifice: A Celtic Adventure - Philip Freeman

Let me start off by saying that I liked this, I really did. So if I liked it, then why didn't I give it five stars?

What kept me from giving this five stars was Deirdre, and the writing, in that order.

Deirdre, while a great narrator and a likeable protagonist, was kind of bland to be honest. I didn't get much of a personality from her to be honest with you, there was nothing about her character that really stood out. She was just kind of there, telling the story but that was about it. I didn't connect to her in any way.

And my main problem with the writing was the pattern. It went from three pages of dialogue to three pages of info dump. That was pretty much how the story was told. There was nothing about the characters were doing while they were talking, no facial expressions, all I pictured was just two people sitting and talking for an extended period of time without fidgeting or doing anything.

The thing with info dumps is that it gives you too much to remember all at once so you end up forgetting all of it, it's what I've seen a lot of people do when they first start writing fanfiction. It wasn't that the information was boring but I would've remembered more about the characters and every person that died if all the information concerning those characters wasn't dumped on me all at once. I remembered absolutely nothing about anyone besides their names.

My favourite character, personally was Sister Anna, she was such a strong character, she didn't bullshit from anyone, she had built a life for herself, and she's not ashamed of her past. I would've loved to have read more about her, I wished she'd played a bigger role throughout the story.

I liked the details about druids and druid teachings though, I found them very interesting, and this is the first story I've ever read involving druids to be honest. I liked how the story paid attention to how hard it was to balance both druids and Christians at the same time and the tension that the two groups faced.

The story does deal with some sensitive topics such as rape so if you can't handle that then I wouldn't suggest reading it, but I appreciated the fact that it didn't romanticise the topic. But all in all, it was a pretty solid story.

The World Forgot

The World Forgot - Isla Neal, Martin Leicht

I'll be honest with you, it's been a while since I read this series so I couldn't remember very well what happened in the last book but I remembered the basic storyline of it all once I started reading the last book.

 

My friend actually asked me what I was reading when she saw this book and I honestly didn't know what to tell her. There's just no way to describe this series to someone. A lot had happened and there was just nothing for me to tell her about this book that would make it seem even slightly normal.

 

And to be honest with you, this book isn't normal and I love that about it.

 

It's so out there that I've never read anything like it, I loved how the authors managed to add in humour to the story despite the fact that the characters weren't in very funny situations. Elvie somehow managed to be sarcastic even when she was seconds away from being dead and I loved that about her.

 

It moved at a fast pace so there was never a dull moment and I haven't wanted to yell at characters for a very long time. Especially ducky because the boy couldn't stop throwing up for five seconds. I'm amazed he does barf every time he walks. I don't even really know how he made it through the entire book without dying to be honest with you, he always had his head in the toilet I don't know how he did it.

 

My biggest problem with the series was Elvie's dad and the fact that he was really childish for someone that was an adult. But in this book, you really get to see more of his character, you got to see the fatherly side to him and it was really great. He was always so supportive of Elvie and what she wanted to do, he gave her praise where praise was due, he was a really great dad.

 

Elvie grew up so much as a character as well, she still had the special qualities that made her Elvie, but she was more mature now, she checked herself so many times, she realised when she was doing something that she had promised herself never to become and she became the mother that Zee was never to her.

 

So all in all, I liked this book.

Eleanor and Park

Eleanor & Park - Rainbow Rowell

I'm gonna be honest with you, I didn't really like Eleanor and Park. I mean enjoyed it, but I didn't really like it, and I really expected to after reading Fangirl.

I related to Eleanor, I understood the kind of abusive parents that she was coming from. Her mom pretty much neglected her kids and they had to live with Richie as well, which I'm not even going to go into the kinds of things that he probably did to Eleanor's brothers and sisters in addition to the nasty things he wrote in her textbook. I was pretty much screaming by the end of the book because I wanted him to get arrested so badly.

But I understood the fear that she felt when she was in the house, and I understood why she stayed in her room all the time in order to avoid getting in trouble with Richie. I felt for her when she felt completely helpless and unable to save her family, it's really easy to say "well her mom should've just taken them and left" but it's not as simple as that. 

What I didn't like about this book? The romance. Oh God I hated the romance with everything that was in me I hated this romance. It just wasn't believable.

At the beginning I was like okay I can see how the two of them developed a crush on each other and then they got all into "I love you" and stuff and I was like what? Slow down there friend, you haven't known each other for that long what are you doing?

Why are young adult novels so allergic to the characters just liking each other a lot? Why do they all have to fall in love within a week of knowing each other? Y'all are like fifteen what do you mean you're in love?

And the romance was what killed it for me to be honest with you. I didn't want to read the book because once the romance started up it just put me off. I'd have to deal with Eleanor and Park being all mushy and weird around each other and it just got really boring really fast. I didn't care about the romance and I most certainly couldn't relate or understand it, but maybe that was just me.

I did like the writing and the contrast between Park's family and Eleanor's family and I enjoyed the fact that Eleanor was so aware of the difference and how uncomfortable it made her and how she didn't know how to deal with it.

It wasn't a bad book, but it wasn't a great book either.

Reading progress update: I've read 144 out of 295 pages.

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl - Jesse Andrews

I haven't laughed this hard or this often while reading a book in a very long time. Although I do wish Greg would ease up on the "my writing sucks ass" thing like we get the idea okay just tell the story.