I don’t like series, and big books intimidate me. That’s why Anna Karenina is still on my shelf unread for the past two years. Sometimes, it’s okay to read a short book instead of the monstrosities like Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, which not only has 800 pages but it’s a crucial book in the series, so you HAVE to read it. Apparently, nobody told Rowling that quick reads can be just as good and just as gratifying as big books, so here are some of my favorite books that happen to be under 200 pages.
Winter is a hard season for a lot of people and many of us are slumpy. Let’s talk about some books that are great for getting you out of a slump!
To get out of reading slumps, I try to read books that I’ve enjoyed in the past and that are not complicated like most fantasy and sci-fi stories. For me, that means I head towards the contemporary romance section because they’re usually fun and happy stories… most of the time anyway. The list is in no particular order except for the first two. Continue reading
This or That challenges is hosted by the Bookmark Chronicles. This week’s prompt is:
Have you ever given a book a one star (out of 5) rating?
If so, give the title and why didn’t you like it (or them if it’s happened more than once).
I generally don’t but I know I definitely have. For me they are rare so a book has to be atrociously horrendously bad for me to give them a 1 star rating. I went through my Goodreads account and found these 6 books and here they are.
Ten Tiny Breaths by K. A. Tucker
This one made the list recently this year. I despised it and I kept hoping it would get better as I read it but it just kept getting worse. It’s SUPPOSED to be a love story but it’s really about this insta-love story between an angry girl and her kinda creepy neighbor who says he will “fix” her. It just made me angry and I don’t know why it has such a high rating on Goodreads.
Evermore by Alyson Noel
Okay, If I’m honest I don’t exactly remember why I gave this a one star rating. I think it had to do with corny predictable plots in the Twilight era of vampires and some kind of insta-love. I remember I even found typos that bothered me.
No Turning Back by Bryan Anderson
This is the only book on this list that I feel bad about giving a low rating. Why? Because I met the author at a school event and he is a wonderful human being in person. He’s a brave man who went to the front lines of war for his country, and yet here I am giving his book a one star rating. The problem with the book is that personality and wonderful storytelling in person does not translate as well in book form. The sad parts weren’t sad and the funny parts weren’t funny.
A Passage to India by E. M. Forster
I had to read this for school and for whatever reason it was a tough read and therefore hated. Looking back maybe it doesn’t deserve it, but that’s how I felt at the time.
Forever by Maggie Stiefvater
The first book in the series was good, I enjoyed it, but the trilogy went downhill from then on. By the time I got to this book, I was already annoyed by the story and barely finished it.
I’ve always enjoyed books with unique formats because it’s different change of pace and can add to the story. Here are some of the books that I’ve read that have unique ways of storytelling.
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
FORMAT: One of my favorite formats on this list and my favorite aspect of the novel is the unique narrative. Because there are two stories, two protagonists, the story is told in a simultaneous double narrative. While you read Clay’s story you’re also listening to the tapes he’s listening to. It is confusing at first, but after a couple of chapters it’s easy to keep up with the story.
The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
FORMAT: This book is made up of a series of vignettes (really, really, really short chapters) that describe different moments in the protagonist’s life. The small chapters and Cisnero’s writing style make it a fast and enjoyable read. It’s one of the few books I re-read each year.
Crank by Ellen Hopkins
FORMAT: This is a book written entirely in free verse poetry making it an easy and fast read. The author definitely has fun with the format and it shows, however it doesn’t take away from the serious subject matter. According to the author, what happens in the book actually happened to her own daughter.
NOTE: This book is the first in a trilogy but I’ve only read the first one.
Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
ONE SENTENCE SUMMARY: Lincoln gets hired by a newspaper to monitor the company’s emails when he begins to fall in love with Beth Fremont from reading her emails.
FORMAT: The format changes back and forth between normal prose and email messages. I’m always worried about weird formats like this but then I’m proven wrong, and I’m always glad that I am. This is no exception because the emails form part of the most exciting moments in the story.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
FORMAT: Two things. One, I’m pretty sure everyone knows the format. Two, if you didn’t I already gave it away in my summary. The only other thing I can say is that I’m amazed at how detailed and long Charlie’s letters are. I don’t think I could write like he does.
Illuminae by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman
ONE SENTENCE SUMMARY: After their planet is attacked, survivors flee from their home planet in the hopes of reaching a safer destination while the Lincoln, a dangerous spaceship follows them through the cosmos.
FORMAT: This is the book that inspired me to make this list because it is so drastically different from everything I’ve ever read. It is a collection of interviews, videos, memos, emails, and so much more. It was a bit hard to understand the story at first but ultimately the format really made the story.
NOTE: This is the first in a series called the Illuminae Files. I also wrote a review of it you can check it out HERE. Spoiler alert: It was amazing!
Diary formats, for me, can go either way. I either love them or hate them. For example, I wasn’t a fan of the format while I read Gabi, a Girl in Pieces but I think it worked really well for Go Ask Alice.
– Gabi, a Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero
– Go Ask Alice by Anonymous
– Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
Let me know what you think. Have you read any of these? Did I miss a book? Let me know in the comments!
Good news and bad news. The good news is that the election is almost over. The bad news is that the election is not over. Seeing that this might be my last chance to talk about politics in novels, I’m taking my chance now before it’s gone forever… at least for another four years. So, here’s a list of books with politics in it.
Title: My Life Next Door
Author: Huntley Fitszpatrick
The Politics: The politics in this story is not at the forefront of the main story but it is in there from the beginning. Our main character’s mother is running for congress and this aspect of her life seeps into her daughter’s life. I suggest this book for those who want to see how an election works but don’t want to be overwhelmed
Title: Going Geek
Author: Charlotte Huang
The Politics: Huang’s novel isn’t about the real world politics we all know about, instead it focuses on the inner workings of the prestigious Winthrop Academy. What surprised me, and what I liked the most about this book was the complex government system the students had to journey through. It was really fun to see them navigate through it all. It also offered a very different high school life from other YA novels.
Author: Veronica Roth
The Politics: It’s hard not to mention a couple of dystopian novels in a list of political-ish books, and Divergent definitely fits this category. If you haven’t read or watched the movies. Divergent takes place in a futuristic Chicago where each person fits in one of five factions (Erudite, Dauntless, Abnegation, Amity or Candor), and what happens when you don’t exactly fit in one. More importantly, it’s about what happens when a social order is challenged and what that means for the government.
Title: Hunger Games
Author: Suzanne Collins
The Politics: This is another well-known trilogy and if you haven’t heard about it, then I welcome you to the 21st century (I’m assuming you’ve been hiding under a rock for most of your life). In Collins’ dystopian novel, the government is the big evil. Thanks to “The Capitol” kids are forced to go to the arena and literally fight to the death, meanwhile the entire country watches the tournament like a bad reality show, but you can’t stop watching. It also touches on themes of war, PTSD, dictatorships, and overthrowing the government.
Title: 1984 & Animal Farm
Author: George Orwell
The Politics: George Orwell is the father of dystopian literature and political satire. His novels warn people of the dangers of big government and what happens when they control every miniscule aspect of your life. Unlike the other novels on this list, these books are the least hopeful, but they’re the most thought provoking in my opinion. They have certainly stayed on my mind much longer than most novels.
Title: Hamilton: The Revolution
Author: Lin Manuel Miranda & Jeremy McCarter
The Politics: Okay, so I’m cheating, but Hamilton is the perfect story when we talk about politics. Not only can we sing along to catchy songs, but we also learn about the founding of this country and over 200 years of democratic elections. With the “Hamil-tome” fans (like me) can learn about the founding of this great American musical, with cast interviews, notes from the creator, lyrics, and backstage and on stage photos.
So I saw one of those Top Ten Tuesday lists on My Tiny Obsessions and thought of what I would buy if a stranger came up to me and said: “Pick any ten books, I’ll buy them for you! Free of charge!” Of course that’s just a dream, but my birthday is coming so who knows? In the end, I came up with a list of 10 books. (The list is in no particular order)
I recently read this graphic novel and I LOVED it so much that I can’t imagine my life without them. They were that good and I want them!
- Maybe Someday
It’s the only full length novel CoHo book I don’t own.
- Solutions and Other Problems
This is supposed to be a follow up of Hyperbole and a Half which I loved! Too bad this one isn’t set to be released until next year!
- To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
- Since You’ve Been Gone by Megan Matson
- Can You Keep a Secret? By Sophie Kinsella
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (It’s the one HP book I still don’t have)
- All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood
- Illuminae by Amie Kauffman & Jay Kristoff
- The Problem with Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Bonus: The Legend of Korra comics that are coming out next year.
THE TURN ONS
Part of me feels like I will automatically love a book if it can make me laugh.
Example: Paper Towns by John Green; Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh
This is a made up word (by me) that describes books that flow well. This is a key ingredient in the books I tend to give higher ratings. If I can just sit down and not stumble over my words, then it automatically it will get at least 3.5 stars.
Example: Rainbow RowellSex and Cursing
It’s not so much as a turn on but a respect for the authors who are not afraid to go there especially in YA because I think it’s okay to talk about either of them as long as it fits in the story. If it doesn’t go then it doesn’t, but I don’t like it when they shy away from it.
Example: Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone by Kat Rosenfield, Looking for Alaska by John Green
I love different POVs of the same story because it offers insight into what’s happening with everyone. It sometimes completes a story in a way that one POV does not, and also major respects for authors who are able to do this well.
Example: Jodi Picoult
This is the masochist in me, but I like a touch of reality in my stories. Most of the time, bittersweet endings are that touch because life is full of “bittersweetness”. Also, these type of endings tend to stay with me a lot longer than others.
Example: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell; Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow; Allegiant by Veronica Roth; Copenhagen (The Movie)
THE TURN OFFS
The Fabio Covers
This is any book (mostly romance) with the rippling muscled man on the cover. They just make me uncomfortable and ignore them completely whenever I see them. I cringe.
Example: The original City of Bones cover but sexier
Really Long Blurbs
This is a problem I didn’t realize I had until I read June by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore. In her case it was a really long blurb that explained the plot of the book. So as I read, I kept wondering where the story was going to start because everything I was reading was already said in the blurb. In my opinion, blurbs should give you a gist of the story but never the events in the book.
Example: June by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore
Mentions of Technology
When authors mention the latest technology or when they’re very specific, this is mainly for contemporary novels. It just feels weird to me to read “I put my iPhone 6s in my pocket but left the music on shuffle so…”
Example: Evermore by Alyson Noel
I’m slowly coming to the conclusion that the fantasy genre is not for me. Which is weird because what sparked my interest to read was Twilight and Harry Potter, but lately I haven’t been able to get into any fantasy books. I will read anything else sci-fi, murder mystery, even historical fiction, but fantasy doesn’t attract me as much as it used to. I find it difficult to get into these books because it takes a lot of effort to understand the magic and the world.
I don’t mean the characters who start out negative and go to the rainbows and sunshine and unicorns side of the spectrum. I’m talking about the characters who are super pessimistic, the ones who dig a hole and bury themselves and have tea with the grim reaper. The only way if I can finish books with these type of protagonists is if there is another character who I can hold on to.
Example: Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future by A.S. King (DNF)
Named After the Dead
I despise this trend / trope with a passion. I hate it whenever someone dies and another person names their kid after them. I’ve seen it so much in television, movies, and books, that it’s not even a surprise anymore. It almost feels like the author is too lazy to think of another name.
Example: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (19 Years Later Epilogue) by J. K. Rowling, Once Upon a Time, among many more examples.
So what are your book turn ons or turn offs? Let me know!