Books I Won’t Be Reading

Today I wanted to do something outside of my usual Monday post which is typically a tag. What I’m doing instead is a collection/list of books that I won’t be reading. Sound a little odd? I know. But these are books in my preferred genres that have had a lot of attention by other readers and media that I just won’t be reading.


 

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. I have spent nearly two decades in love with the Harry Potter series. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (or Philosopher’s Stone) was first published back in 1998 and it didn’t take me long, even at a young age, to fall in love with it. The original series transported me away to a land of magic and wonder. Those books made my childhood heart sing. Despite that, I won’t be touching The Cursed Child. I don’t want those first memories of enjoying reading for myself to be tainted by this new story Rowling has put together. I’m sure the play is wonderful but those memories are too sweet to risk messing with and the reviews for the book version of the play aren’t positive enough to jump down that hole.


 

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Twilight by Stephenie Meyer. I feel like this one shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. I just can’t get on board with the sparkly vampires and weak women. Nope! If I want vampires I’ll read some old Anne Rice because you can never go wrong with Lestat.


 

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Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard. From every description and review of this book, I get the impression that it contains all of the things that I hate most. 1) A poorly executed love triangle. 2) A painfully slow beginning. 3) A plot that relies on the romantic aspect to move the story instead of action. Even the quotes on Goodreads sound annoyingly dull. They are short and generic with no substance- “Words can lie. See beyond them.” I just won’t be getting on board with this one.


 

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Divergent by Veronica Roth. This one has left me waffling in the past but at this point I’m firmly in the “not reading that” column. There are a lot of dystopian novels that I like, The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon being a prime example, so what is my problem with this one? It’s sequels. I’ve read the reviews, I know how the story turns out, and lets just say that I’m not happy about it. Once I start on a series it takes an act of god to make me stop reading them so I don’t want to start on this and enjoy the first book just to be utterly disappointed in the end.


 

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The Selection by Kiera Cass. Where do I even begin? This book currently has a rating of 4.15 on Goodreads and the positive reviews I’ve read of it are absolutely glowing. To say the least this series obviously has a strong following. However, for the life of me I can’t figure out why. A bunch of girls fighting for the love of a single rich man. While the rest of the world burns, they put on frilly dresses and think about love and money. This feels like Mean Girls in a poverty stricken world meets The Bachelor. That sounds like a great big pile of NOPE! What really drives me nuts is that the author apparently went to one of the local universities that is just down the road from me so everywhere I go I have to see this book. People seem very proud of her. I love my local library but every branch has her books on display in the front. It irks me.


 

What do you think? Are there any books you feel like you should love but just don’t have an interest in? 

The Ultimate Book Tag

Folks, the book slump is real. I haven’t seriously read in over a week. In an attempt to get out of it I picked up a short, tacky mystery involving cupcakes and coffee this morning in the hopes of at least finishing more than two paragraphs. It’s not working so well. Maybe I’ll try a tacky romance next. At least then I can make scoffing noises to amuse myself and annoy my cat.

Since I have very little book related to bring you today, I figured it was a perfect day for a tag! I found The Ultimate Book Tag with Zuky @ The Book Bum and thought I’d give it a shot.


 

DO YOU GET SICK WHILE READING IN THE CAR?

Catastrophically. I can get car sick even while driving. It’s terrible. I talked to my mother about it not long ago and she said they couldn’t even leave the house when I was a baby because I’d get so car sick. Motion sickness is real folks…but roller coasters are still fun.

WHICH AUTHOR’S WRITING STYLE IS COMPLETELY UNIQUE TO YOU AND WHY?

Susan Wittig Albert. She wrote a series that revolved around Beatrix Potter’s life called The Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter and I was enchanted by them. I usually like flashy stories. Things need to happen constantly to keep me entertained. However, Albert’s writing in these books kept me completely engrossed without the flash. The stories are carefully crafted with interesting characters, softly painted settings, and obvious attention to detail. They are simply lovely.

HARRY POTTER SERIES OR THE TWILIGHT SAGA? 

I have not so far, nor will I ever, read Twilight. The only vampire books I’ve ever read are Anne Rice’s because who can resist Lestat? I also took the sorting quiz for Pottermore this morning (I told you I was procrastinating reading) and got sorted into Ravenclaw which was a bit of a surprise.

DO YOU CARRY A BOOK BAG? IF SO, WHAT IS IN IT (BESIDES BOOKS)?

The only time I carry a specific bag for books is when I’m going to the library. Otherwise I just tuck a book into my purse and go on my merry way.

DO YOU SMELL YOUR BOOKS?

I did when I was younger but not anymore. I considered it one day not long ago and then started thinking about inhaling other people’s skin cells and slowly decomposing tree pulp. That put a damper on that book smell. Rory Gilmore would be so disappointed in me.

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BOOKS WITH OR WITHOUT LITTLE ILLUSTRATIONS?

It really depends on what I’m reading. For some books it works to have a little illustration at the start of a chapter and in others it feels tacky and misplaced. If I had to make a definitive choice I’d say no illustrations unless I was reading a graphic novel.

WHAT BOOK DID YOU LOVE WHILE READING BUT DISCOVERED LATER IT WASN’T QUALITY WRITING?

24690 by A.A. Dark. Look, even while I was reading it I knew it wasn’t the traditional sense of quality writing…and I didn’t give a damn. As long as I am entertained I really don’t give a horse’s back side if it is socially acceptable “quality writing.” If the story pulls me in and makes me forget reality for a while, that is what matters to me.

WHAT IS THE THINNEST BOOK ON YOUR SHELF?

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Cupcakes, Cappuccinos, and a Corpse by Harper Lin. This is listed on Goodreads at 286 pages but on my Nook it comes in at 155 pages so that is what I’m choosing to go by. I told you I was trying to read a tacky mystery to get out of my reading slump. All that has really happened is I now want a peanut butter cupcake. Damn.

WHAT IS THE THICKEST BOOK ON YOUR SHELF?

I’d have to say A Dance with Dragons by GRRM at 1016 pages. That is a lot of pages and lot of shelf space that sucker is taking up. A whole tree was probably murdered per book.

WHEN DID YOU GET INTO READING?

Up until I was probably in my mid twenties it was more of a sporadic interest. I enjoyed reading but I didn’t feel that need to pick up a book. My then boyfriend (now husband) saw that I would enjoy snuggling onto the couch with a good book at times and bought me a Nook. Honestly, that really turned things around for me. I could just click on a book, have it downloaded, and start reading it then and there. That made a huge difference for me as I would get overwhelmed in book stores and usually leave empty handed. I’ve since started collecting both digital and hard copy books as well as taking advantage of library services but it was that one thoughtful purchase by him that turned things around for me.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CLASSIC BOOK?

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. I always sympathized with the monster and raged against the doctor. Not to mention the history behind the book. If I recall correctly, Mary, her husband Lord Byron, and one other friend were having a friendly writing competition which she wrote Frankenstein for. Just an interesting historical tidbit.

“I do know that for the sympathy of one living being, I would make peace with all. I have love in me the likes of which you can scarcely imagine and rage the likes of which you would not believe. If I cannot satisfy the one, I will indulge the other.”

IN SCHOOL WHAT WAS YOUR BEST SUBJECT?

As I majored in English and have a love of reading you would expect me to say English, correct? Nope! I excelled in history although English was a close second. I can vividly remember when my love of history began. I was in the eighth grade. My family had just moved to a new town and I was feeling awkward and left out. One of my classes was ancient history taught by Ms. Wilson. Most of the other kids hated her and that class but it was the only place that year I felt comfortable. It was the very first time that a teacher complimented my work. My love of ancient history has stuck with me thanks to Ms. Wilson.

IF YOU WERE GIVEN A BOOK AS A PRESENT THAT YOU HAD READ BEFORE AND HATED, WHAT WOULD YOU DO?

It’s a gift. Don’t be a jerk. Be thankful that someone thought to give you a gift. Be grateful…then maybe see if you can exchange it somewhere or at least donate it to a used book store or the library.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE WORD?

Odd question, there are a lot of lovely words in the English language. Here is one that I’ve enjoyed recently- Suborn – to induce secretly to do an unlawful thing.

ARE YOU A NERD, DORK, OR DWEEB? OR ALL OF THE ABOVE?

I am a lover of literature. A connoisseur of the written word. Impassioned by a fictional tale. There is no single word that can encompass all of that.

VAMPIRES OR FAIRIES? WHY?

Neither? Let us go with neither. Pirates! There needs to be a pirates option. I have a bit of a crush on Captain Hook from Once Upon a Time at the moment.

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SHAPESHIFTERS OR ANGELS? WHY?

Both make me think of Supernatural in which they are both pretty much assholes all of the time. I think I’ll go with shapeshifters because angels have that whole “holier than thou” complex which is just irritating.

AND FINALLY: FULL ON ROMANCE BOOKS OR ACTION-PACKED WITH A FEW LOVE SCENES MIXED IN?

Definitely, without a shadow of a doubt, action packed with a few scattered love scenes and those love scenes damn well better be steamy. I’m not a romantic in case you haven’t figured that out.


 

That was a fun tag for a Monday morning! I think it’s one of the favorites that I’ve done. If you’d like to do it, please feel free, I never tag people for these. Have a lovely day.

Victoria by Daisy Goodwin

Victoria

 

Sometimes I sit down to write these reviews and just don’t know where to start. I’ve been staring at this screen for several minutes now wondering, “Now, where do I begin?” Always best to start at the beginning, I suppose. I didn’t intend to read this book. I hadn’t read any opinions about it on Goodreads or, to be honest, had not ever even seen it before. This book was chosen completely at random. I was walking into the library with my little girl and snagged a book haphazardly from a display near the entrance to amuse myself while she did her thing. I’m so glad that my hand landed on this one.

“I am referred to as Alexandrina Victoria. But I do not like the name Alexandrina. From now on I wish to be called Victoria.”

Our story begins with a young Alexandrina, the heir to the English throne. She is hardly more than a child and is already keenly aware that when the current king dies she shall ascend to the throne. Her mother, a rather self serving German duchess, and her co-conspirator Conroy believe that upon the king’s imminent death they will be the power behind the throne and control Alexandrina Victoria’s every move. However, the young Victoria has far too much spirit to ever allow that to happen.

I’m mildly ashamed to admit that when I started this book I knew very, very little about Queen Victoria. Other than knowing she was an English monarch, about the only other exposure I had had to her was a portrayal of her in Doctor Who that was mostly unflattering.  I know, I know, horrible of me. As a lover of history I should have had more knowledge of her. Somehow the queen had never been a blip on my radar, though. I will be amending that.

From the moment Victoria took the throne she began as she meant to go on. She dropped her first name of Alexandrina, which she disliked, for the uncommon Victoria. She also promptly created distance between herself and her mother. Victoria knew that the duchess and Conroy intended to rule her and she would not have it. She was young, only eighteen, when she took the crown and was well aware that people thought her too young and inexperienced to rule effectively. The Queen had every intention of proving them wrong.

I have to applaud the nerve Victoria displayed throughout the book. She knew her own mind and was more than willing to push her agenda. The Queen seemed fearless. During the course of this story, once the monarch had made up her mind there was no turning back. Sure, she was wrong occasionally but she had no qualm about making strong decisions.

One such decision she weighed heavily was taking a husband. The young queen had become enamored with her first Prime Minister, Lord Melbourne. Though he was years older than her she still took a liking to him. He had kindly and gently guided her at the beginning of her reign. Victoria had not been properly taught all the ways of the English court and government and Melbourne was there to help her through the worst of it. She even went as far as to propose to him though he, as politely as he could, declined.

There were no wars and battles in this book. No obvious and flashy entertainment. Instead it was a story of the Queen’s everyday life and her struggles to adjust to her role up until her betrothal to Prince Albert. We witness her coronation, her opening of poor houses for her people, and her giddy joy while playing with her dog or enjoying a ball. It is the life of the woman behind the throne.

Despite the lack of flashy entertainment this book pulled me in. It was so easy to get lost in the budding world of Victorian England. All of the characters were well written and had purpose and the story was easy to follow. There were certainly a few points where I wanted to knock a character’s head for poor decisions but even those parts were amusing. Victoria had sparkle and glint, drama and intrigue. It was a thoroughly enjoyable read and I’m very glad that it was the closest book to me on my way into the library that day.

“I know that I am young, but I am ready for the great responsibility that lies before me.”  

WWW Wednesday – May 17

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WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words and was formerly hosted by A Daily Rhythm. It is open for anyone to participate, even without a blog you can comment on Sam’s post with your own answers. It is a great way to share what you’ve been reading! All you have to do is answer three questions and share a link to your blog in the comments section of Sam’s blog.

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

Victoria

“I know that I am young, but I am ready for the great responsibility that lies before me.”

Victoria by Daisy Goodwin. This book has been very much a happy accident for me. I snagged it haphazardly from a shelf on my way into the library to have something to read while my daughter played. This story is about the reign of Queen Victoria of England and so far it has been wonderful.

Dangerous Dreams by Mike Rhynard. This book was given to me as an eARC by NetGalley. I was very excited to get it as the story of the lost colony of Roanoke is fascinating to me. It is pretty much the only piece of American history that I find interesting. However, the story is falling flat. So much useless detail and the dialogue is never ending and dull. Probably going to DNF this one.

What did you recently finish reading?

TheHauntingOfAshburnHouse

LIGHT THE CANDLE
YOUR FAMILY
IS STILL
DEAD

The Haunting of Ashburn House by Darcy Coates. I don’t pick up a horror novel often but when I do I like it to scare the dickens out of me. This one sure delivered on that. Even thinking about it now, a week after I finished reading it, I’m looking over my shoulder shuddering. Now that is effective horror.

What do you think you’ll read next?

“I will die. You will die. We will all die and the universe will carry on without care. All that we have is that shout into the wind – how we live. How we go. And how we stand before we fall.”

Golden Son by Pierce Brown. I read the first novel in this trilogy, Red Rising, not too awful long ago and was thrilled by it. Lately I’ve had an itch to continue the trilogy so hopefully I can get a copy of this book soon. Brown’s writing was riveting in Red Rising and his attention to detail and depth of story impressed me. Hopefully Golden Son lives up to expectations.

Thanks for reading and feel free to leave a link to your WWW Wednesday in the comments. Happy Wednesday!

The Masked City by Genevieve Cogman

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When my local library added this book to their collection in March I was pretty excited. I had read another book by this author and the first of the series, The Invisible Library, a few months ago and adored it. It was one of those rare books for me that I picked up and genuinely couldn’t put down. I read it while making dinner, while folding laundry, and even while sitting at stop lights. So, maybe you can understand that I was excited for it’s followup, The Masked City. Expectations were high and I had opened it to read the first few pages before even leaving the library.

Perhaps my expectations were too high.

The story begins with the same cast of characters that we were familiarized with in The Invisible Library. Irene, our logical and straightforward agent from the Library, and her partner Kai, a dragon masquerading as human (no joke), are in their alternate version of Earth trying to procure a rare book at an underground auction. Afterwards, Kai is kidnapped by parties unknown and Irene embarks on the task of rescuing him from another alternate world.

Sounds fun, right? I like the idea of the heroine doing the rescuing instead of being rescued.

Let me be honest here, I’m having a difficult time coming up with a way to make this review sound interesting. The book took me more than a week to read which is incredibly rare for me. It just didn’t hold my attention and even now the details in my head are a bit fuzzy. The story just didn’t grab me like it did in the first book so pardon if I plod on a bit.

Alright…

In a daring attempt to rescue Kai, Irene, with the help of one of her enemies, boards a magical train that is embarking for the alternate world where her partner has been taken. The train is full of a species called Fai which are enemies of her and the Library and she must blend in to gain information in the hopes of rescuing her dragon friend. The Fai are an odd bunch as they can manipulate the people and world around them to suit whatever story they wish to find themselves in. Perhaps they want to be a damsel in distress. The damsel Fai would use their power to change the reality around them to conform to that story line. Irene must be cautious to not get caught up in one of their stories.

Irene learns that Kai is being auctioned off in this alternate world to the highest bidder in an attempt to start a war between the Fai and the Dragons. She cannot depend on any help from the Library on her mission and must navigate this strange world and succeed in rescuing her dragon partner not only to stop a war but because it could cost her her position within the Library.

She of course has many mishaps and adventures while trying to accomplish her task but, sadly, none of them drew me in the way they did in the first book of this series. I can’t even quite place why I was so ambivalent to this book. It had adventure, intrigue, danger, and many of the other things I usually love in a good story. There was just something missing that didn’t pull it all together. Irene didn’t feel as in control in this story and that was part of the reason I liked her in the first book. She was unrufflable. In this one, not so much. The location also felt hollow. It is portrayed as Venice in it’s prime but the people and Fai there did not behave or dress indicative of that time period so it broke the spell that Venice would normally weave.

Maybe I’m being too picky. Perhaps it was the beautiful spring weather that was distracting me. How could I resist the sun shine and warm breeze after months of freezing temperatures and high winds? Either way I’m fairly confident I’ll still pick up the next book in this series at some point. I enjoy Cogman’s writing style and the characters, for the most part, are well done. The story in this one just wasn’t there for me.

Anything But Books Tag

Alright, I wasn’t actually tagged to do this but I saw it over on Catia’s page, The Girl Who Reads Too Much, and couldn’t resist. I believe this is the first one I’ve done that isn’t book related. Thought it might be fun to do something more personal!

 

1. Name a cartoon that you love.

The original Scooby Doo. I love Scooby! Fun, quirky, makes absolutely no sense 90% of the time. How could I resist that clumsy dog with his snack attacks and the unmasking of the monsters at the end? However, if the opportunity ever arose, I’d punch Freddy in the teeth. Pompous ass hat.

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2. What is your favorite song right now?

I always have trouble picking a favorite song. However, one that always perks up my mood and gives me some energy is Porn Star Dancing by My Darkest Days. Sure, it has an un-feminist theme but it’s still something fun to boogy to while getting some chores done. Anything to make laundry time more bearable.

3. What could you do for hours that isn’t reading?

I love taking my dog, Patrick, for a long walk. He is a German Shepherd/Husky mix and is so full of energy. He is always just so darn happy and I love trekking through the woods with him. The picture below is from our walk this past Sunday, April 9th. He was eyeballing a stream he wanted to jump into. Yes, I let him.

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4. What is something you love to do that your followers would be surprised by?

I love watching history documentaries. Love them. Anything before 1900 and I’m on board. Recently while making dinner I’ve been binge watching Expedition Unknown where the host investigates pieces of the past with other experts in hopes of turning up new clues. Sounds a bit lame when I say it but it is really fun! I mean, look at this guy. He just makes it more fun!

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5. What is your favorite unnecessarily specific thing to learn about?

Bit of an odd question but I’ll bite. I will read and pick up anything I see about the pharaoh Hatshepsut. She was a fascinating 18th dynasty pharaoh that the next ruler tried to erase from history. Of course, the next ruler was her “step” son and she had ruled in his stead while he was a small child and declined to give him his power by birth right when he came of age. Kinda understand why he wanted to wipe her from history but still interesting.

6. What is something unusual that you know how to do?

I can play the bassoon. I even used to be part of an orchestra/winds and percussion ensemble. It was a lot of fun and something I would love to get serious about again.

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7. Name something you made in the last year and show us if you can.

I made my daughter a really warm afghan for her bed this winter. She picked the colors. It’s not perfect but it made her happy and I like her using something that I made for her. Not to mention that sucker is warm!

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8. What is your most recent personal project?

Hm. I can’t think of anything specifically. I crochet sometimes, I write short stories when the mood strikes me, I write a second blog that is more lifestyle leaning than book specific. Can’t say that I have a specific project at the moment other than trying to figure out how not to fail at life. Has anyone figured that one out yet?

9. Tell us something that you think about often.

Potatoes. No, I’m just kidding. On a personal level, I think about my daughter’s future and her life. What school should we send her to? Is she learning everything she needs to? Is she being kind? Is she getting enough exercise? What the heck stain is that on her shirt this time? Where is the cat and what is he destroying? He is being too quiet…

10. Give us something that is your favorite.

Going with the non book related theme, I’ll give you my favorite football team. American football. Yes, I know, Americans are the only ones that call it football and they really use their hands a lot but I can’t help what it is named. I love the Baltimore Ravens. During the season we have them on every Sunday. Just fun to watch and I love to shout at the TV. My three year old even has her own jersey. We are a bit obsessed in this house.

11. Say the first thing that pops into your head.

Chocolate chip cookies. Guys, I’m hungry here. Send food.

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Hah! Alright, that was fun. Hope you all enjoyed! I’m not going to tag anyone specifically but if you want to do this tag please feel free! Have a wonderful day, everyone.