Being brutally honest about books

Showing posts with label meme. Show all posts
Showing posts with label meme. Show all posts

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

10 Things I Need More of in Books

Top Ten Tuesday is an awesome meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's theme is Ten Things On Our Reading Wishlist - things you want to see more of in books ie. tropes, a time period, a specific type of character, an issue tackled, a certain plot, etc.

1. Main characters who stay single for the entire book/series

I want to see main characters who are aromantic, main characters who don't want a partner at this time, have sworn off love, aren't good with the ladies (or whatever gender/s they may prefer) or don't have time because they're too busy saving the world. It can be done. Really. I just need to see a single single character!

2. Bechdel Test passes

For those who don't know, it tests whether a fictional work includes (at least) two female characters who have a conversation about something that is not a male character. You'd think it would be pretty easy to pass the test, but I've read a surprising number of supposedly feminist books that don't.

3. Queer women characters whose identities are irrelevant to the plot

Let them be queer just because they can be, and then let them get on with it because, being book characters, they have work to do. Like saving the world.

4. Hate-love relationships

I live on that tension when two characters in the same room don't know if they want to fight or fuck each other. Mm yes. Build that tension as high as it can go. Tease me. 

5. Bisexual characters

Especially bi male characters. They aren't unicorns, y'know. Enough said.

6. Russia

It's one of my new favourite settings, and it's so cool! (Pun not intended.) I want to read more books set in Russia, by Russian authors. I don't want to read any more books about aristocrats during or after the Revolution, though - if I read books set in that era, I want to read about normal people.

7. Lesser known badass historical women

Hypatia, anyone? Or Empress Matilda? Vasilisa Kozhina? Khutulun? You guys know how I love my historical fiction, and I'd like to see more obscure figures portrayed in books. 
Vasilisa Kozhina

8. Flawed & morally grey main characters

It's wonderful to come across a character that you'd hate in real life but you love in the book. These characters are complex and realistic, and it's much easier to relate to someone who has flaws than to a perfect angel who can do no wrong.

9. Close & healthy sibling & cousin relationships

Obviously I couldn't relate to the sibling relationships as I want to kill my sister 103%* of the time, but I'd like to see more familial love and family going on quests together. In some cases they would complain and fight the whole time, but in others they'd work well together and get the job done ASAP, with some great dialogue on the side.
* That's a joke. It's 96% of the time.

10. Boats

I was going to say ships, but I didn't want to be misinterpreted, LOL. Anyway, I want more books set on boats! Pirate and Waterworld-type scenarios especially. Boats are amazing. I want to read about smallish groups of people surviving together on boats. 
By Lance Woodworth - originally posted to Flickr as Niagra Cannons, CC BY 2.0,

What are 10 things on your reading wishlist? Do you agree with any of these? Alternatively, what are you sick of seeing in books? (I, personally, am sick of contemporaries.)

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

10 Things That Make Me Avoid a Book Like the Plague

Top Ten Tuesday is an awesome meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's theme is Top Ten Things That Will Make Me Instantly NOT Want To Read A Book. It's time to bring out the salt, so sit tight.

1. It has only positive reviews.

Not every book is for everyone, and if everyone else loved the book, chances are I'm going to be that one person that doesn't. If it only has negative reviews, I won't read it either.

2. It has a low average rating.

If the average rating on Goodreads is less than 3.5, I'm not likely to read it. Sometimes I disagree with the average rating, but it can be a good indicator of a book's quality.

3. It's dystopian.

Nope nope nope. I've had enough of this genre to last a lifetime.

4. It's paranormal.

I've read and enjoyed some paranormal books, but not enough to like it as a genre. No werewolves, vampires, or any of that for me, thanks.

5. The blurb mentions a male character the female protagonist's age that she's not related to.

Because I know how it's going to go, and I've had enough.

6. The blurb mentions a "passionate" or "epic" romance.

Not interested.

7. "Star-crossed lovers".

I don't mind romances if they actually are doomed to fail, but usually relationships that are labelled "star-crossed" get a happy ending. False advertising.

8. "I'm not like other girls."

Yes, you are. You're just like 75% of the girls reading this book. Shut up.

9. Protagonist's life changes when she meets a boy.

Do I even need to explain this one? Just no. It's not all about men.

10. Any or all female characters are either pure or immoral, nice or mean, with no in-between.

I need my women more complex than that. Women are people, and people are flawed and complicated, not just black and white, and I'm not going to able to relate to your characters if they're not fleshed out. No-one is 100% good or evil. Do you want to be accused of misogyny?

What instantly turns you off a book? Are there tropes or genres you avoid like the plague? Are there exceptions to the rule?

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Top 10 Most Unique Classics I've Read

Top Ten Tuesday is an awesome meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's theme is Top Ten Of The Most Unique Books I've Read. I decided to go with classics because there are some wonderful old books out there that get overlooked in the blogging community.

Click the covers to go to the Goodreads links.
War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
How many 1000+ page Russian novels that are set during the Napoleonic Wars and have such fantastic characters are there?
The Iliad - Homer
It's such an old book, it would be disappointing if it wasn't unique.
The Hunchback of Notre-Dame - Victor Hugo
It's so dark I can't believe they made a Disney movie out of this. Lots of architecture in this one.
The Lost World - Arthur Conan Doyle
Dinosaurs in the early 19th Century! Also the guy doesn't get the girl and it's for a pretty hilarious reason.
The War of the Worlds - HG Wells
One of the first stories about an alien invasion in London. (Why is it always London? Looking at you, Doctor Who writers. Are the rest of us not worth it?)
The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald
A short novel about horrible people in 1920s New York. Cool.
The Phantom of the Opera -

The Color Purple - Alice Walker
A very important novel that I appreciated more as I studied it than when I was reading it. If you're a woman you should probably read this book.
One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel García Márquez
Happy families in South America. So many generations pass. I also vaguely remember there not being any chapter breaks.
The Hitch-hiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
Like Doctor Who but even weirder, which is certainly an achievement.

What are the best or most unique classics you've read? Do you enjoy old books? Do you prefer to read classic lit or newer books?

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Top 5 Writers That Were New to Me in 2016

Top Ten Tuesday is an awesome meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's theme is Top Ten New-To-Me Authors I Read For The First Time In 2016 but I don't have a top ten because I haven't read enough books this year. So here are my top five.

1. Leo Tolstoy

What I love about his writing: It makes you think you will never be as wise or as observant as an old Russian man from the 19th Century. He knows everything about all kinds of people.

My review of War and Peace

2. Sappho

What I love about her writing: It says so much in just a few words, even though all that remains is small fragments. Her imagery is just delicious.

My post about Sappho

3. Sarah Waters

What I love about her writing: It's descriptive and the characterisation is on point. You feel you are the protagonist.


4. Shamim Sarif

What I love about her writing: It tears out your heart and you wonder what did you do to deserve this pain?


5. Kapka Kassabova

What I love about her writing: It's realistic and bittersweet - there's no glossing over the truth.

My review of Love in the Land of Midas

Have you read these writers? What are your opinions of them? Who are your top new-to-you writers this year?

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Stacking the Shelves: Library Haul

Stacking the Shelves 
 Stacking The Shelves is a meme created by Tynga’s Reviews. The following links go to Goodreads.

I went for a walk because today was lovely and sunny and I hadn't left the house in a week, so I was getting cabin fever. I felt like going to the library, because while I've been good lately at reading the books already on my shelf, the remaining ones didn't inspire me. So I walked to the local public library, which I hadn't been to in a very long time (possibly since March or February, can you believe it?). I expected to get some books on my ginormous TBR list, but alas, I didn't (in fact I only found one of the books on my TBR at the library). Isn't it always the case?

Enchantments by Kathryn Harrison

I picked up this one for the cover, and borrowed it for the history. I don't have high expectations for the quality of the book (the average rating on Goodreads is only 3.21); I'll be reading it for the history and Russian-ness alone.

St. Petersburg, 1917. After Rasputin’s body is pulled from the icy waters of the Neva River, his eighteen-year-old daughter, Masha, is sent to live at the imperial palace with Tsar Nikolay and his family—including the headstrong Prince Alyosha. Desperately hoping that Masha has inherited Rasputin’s miraculous healing powers, Tsarina Alexandra asks her to tend to Aloysha, who suffers from hemophilia, a blood disease that keeps the boy confined to his sickbed, lest a simple scrape or bump prove fatal.

Two months after Masha arrives at the palace, the tsar is forced to abdicate, and Bolsheviks place the royal family under house arrest. As Russia descends into civil war, Masha and Alyosha grieve the loss of their former lives, finding solace in each other’s company. To escape the confinement of the palace, they tell stories—some embellished and some entirely imagined—about Nikolay and Alexandra’s courtship, Rasputin’s many exploits, and the wild and wonderful country on the brink of an irrevocable transformation. In the worlds of their imagination, the weak become strong, legend becomes fact, and a future that will never come to pass feels close at hand.

The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters

I have some other Sarah Waters books on my TBR since I read and loved Tipping the Velvet earlier this month. So I knew the chances of me enjoying this one were pretty high. I don't really know anything about 1920s London (1920s New York, yes), so this will be interesting.

It is 1922, and London is tense. Ex-servicemen are disillusioned, the out-of-work and the hungry are demanding change. And in South London, in a genteel Camberwell villa, a large silent house now bereft of brothers, husband and even servants, life is about to be transformed, as impoverished widow Mrs Wray and her spinster daughter, Frances, are obliged to take in lodgers.

For with the arrival of Lilian and Leonard Barber, a modern young couple of the 'clerk class', the routines of the house will be shaken up in unexpected ways. And as passions mount and frustration gathers, no one can foresee just how far-reaching, and how devastating, the disturbances will be.

Ancients by David Lynn Golemon

I love ancient mythology (especially Greek) so this book had me at "Ancients" and "Atlantis". My sister took one look at it and asked if it's about Stargate. It's not, but it looks very similar. It also looks exciting, but guess what? I just discovered it's the 3rd in a series! I just hope that it can be a standalone as well.

The lost city of Atlantis is the stuff of legend. A vast treasure of secret knowledge and unimaginable wealth. An entire civilisation that disappeared for unknown reasons, forgotten in the mists of time. But now, battle lines are being drawn to claim the immense power which once resided there.

On one side, led by Colonel Jack Collins, is the Event Group - a top secret government organisation made of the most brilliant soldiers, scientists and historians on earth, all dedicated to discovering the truth behind the world's greatest unsolved myths. They must take down a shadowy conspiracy of men fuelled by hatred who want to unleash a weapon which could change life as we know it forever...

These are all fairly different books, although they all have elements of history. Is anyone surprised by that? I'm not. 

These also aren't small, read-in-a-day books, but I have until 9th January to read them, so I should get through them. Better start now...

Have you read any of these? Do you often borrow or buy a book only to find it's the middle of a series? What books have you bought or borrowed this week?

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Stacking the Shelves

Stacking the Shelves 

 Stacking The Shelves is a meme created by Tynga’s Reviews. This is my first time participating, but I got some new books today and haven't posted in a while, so here we go! Links go to Goodreads.

This afternoon, my mum and I went into a second-hand bookshop we like but haven't been to for a very long time, and she bought these for me! The first I picked up because I have two other books by the author on my TBR list and it sounded very interesting, the third was on my TBR list, and the second my mum picked up because she has the same name as the title and enjoyed one of the author's other books.

Despite The Falling Snow  by

The enthralling narrative of Shamim Sarif's powerful second novel moves between present day Boston and 1950s Moscow. After an early career amongst the political elite of Cold War Russia, Alexander Ivanov has built a successful business in the States. For forty years, he has buried the tragic memories surrounding his charismatic late wife, Katya - or so he believes. For into his life come two women - one who will open up the heart he has protected for so long; another who is determined to uncover what really happened to Katya so long ago. The novel's journey back to the snowbound streets of post-Stalinist Moscow reveals a world of secrets and treachery. Shamim Sarif's elegant writing delicately evokes the intensity of passionate love and tragic violence.

Helen  by

Newly orphaned Helen Stanley is urged to share the home of her childhood friend Lady Cecilia. This charming socialite, however, is withholding secrets and soon Helen is drawn into a web of ‘white lies’ and evasions that threaten not only her hopes for marriage but her very place in society. 

A fascinating panorama of Britain’s political and intellectual elite in the early 1800s and a gripping romantic drama. Helen was the inspiration for Elizabeth Gaskell’s Wives and Daughters.
  Tipping the Velvet  by
This delicious, steamy debut novel chronicles the adventures of Nan King, who begins life as an oyster girl in the provincial seaside town of Whitstable and whose fortunes are forever changed when she falls in love with a cross-dressing music-hall singer named Miss Kitty Butler.

When Kitty is called up to London for an engagement on "Grease Paint Avenue", Nan follows as her dresser and secret lover, and, soon after, dons trousers herself and joins the act. In time, Kitty breaks her heart, and Nan assumes the guise of butch roue to commence her own thrilling and varied sexual education - a sort of Moll Flanders in drag - finally finding friendship and true love in the most unexpected places.
All of these are set in the past, but are quite diverse - there are 20th Century Russians*, Georgians, and Victorians. Being the history nerd that I am (who loves these 3 eras) I am very excited to read these 3 novels! (Unfortunately my bookshelf is already overflowing, so I have no idea where I'll put them.)

*I seem to be going through an unintentional 19th and 20th Century Russia phase. Stay tuned for my review of War and Peace whenever I finish it (I'm still not even halfway, though I'm making good progress!).

Have you read any of these? What have you added to your bookshelf lately? Or have you been good?

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Top Ten F/F Relationships on TV

Top Ten Tuesday is an awesome meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's theme is to do a television-related topic, so I've chosen to do my ten favourite female/female relationships on television, past and present. Some of these are ships, some are friendships, some are antagonistic relationships. Not a spoiler-free post.

1. Xena & Gabrielle

Xena: Warrior Princess 
This one's a given.

2. Xena & Callisto

Xena: Warrior Princess
Gif source
You hurt me, I hurt you back tenfold.

3. Eve & Varia

Xena: Warrior Princess
Gif source
Varia has good reason to hate Eve, but ultimately forgives her. Cue happy feels.

4. Ilithyia & Lucretia

Gif source
The best frenemies to ever frenemy.

5. Gaia & Lucretia

Gif source
They genuinely care about each other and Gaia is essential in Lucretia's character development.

6. Nicole Haught & Waverly Earp

Wynonna Earp
Gif source
No Bury Your Gays trope here!

7. Waverly Earp & Wynonna Earp

Wynonna Earp

Gif source

 Healthy family relationships are so rare in fiction. Given the end of season 1, let's see how long this lasts.

8. Cosima Niehaus & Delphine Cormier

Orphan Black
Delphine is alive!

9. Clara Oswald & Jane Austen

Doctor Who
Still a better love story than Twilight, and they don't even have any scenes together.

10. Alex Vause & Piper Chapman

Orange is the New Black
Gif source
Such an unhealthy relationship that sometimes it's hard to watch. But it's so good!

Talk to me...

Do you know all these relationships? Which are your favourites? Who would you add to the list?
I'm Alexandria, a 19-year-old reader/writer/blogger from New Zealand. I love language, history, and sci-fi. Hi! I'm always around if you want to talk, which you can do via comments, the contact form, or Facebook.

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