Everless

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Though I haven’t posted in a while, I’ve still been reading. Sort of. I’ve squashed some reading time into transit rides and before bed. It’s not the best but it’s all I can fit in just now.

I’m woefully behind on my NetGalley reviews, and my library e-book holds come and go before I can download them. Still, I’ve returned to bring you one of many reviews to come.

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I had super low expectations going into this book. If we’re being honest, I think we can acknowledge that YA has been shifty on quality of late. The cover of Everless is less than impressive, as is the tagline ‘Time is a prison, she is the key.’

I mean… really?

But the content. Wow.

The concept of time being quite literally money is one that I’ve never seen before. That’s the thing that piqued my interest despite the cover and tagline. That concept was so well-executed that I didn’t spend any of the book confused over it. The mechanics of everyday life and the clear divide between the aristocracy and the working population are easily understood and believable once you’ve accepted the premise of Sempera. While the circumstances surrounding ‘blood-iron’ and time being bound to blood/money are vague and unexplained, it was clearly a plot device.

Which brings me to the plot. It seems simple enough at the outset. Girl needs money. Girl returns to place of childhood trauma. Things spiral as new truths are uncovered.

I didn’t want to put this book down. Secrets were revealed at just the right pace and frequency to keep me going and Jules was a likeable protagonist. She’s just trying to get by at the beginning of the novel, which I’m sure many of us can empathise with.

When I began reading I was expecting this to be predictable as heck but as I read further it became clear that that wasn’t the case. So then I thought to myself – ‘maybe the author tried to be clever and do the opposite of what readers would expect’.

I was wrong about that too. I’m grateful that Sara Holland wrote a plot and characters twisty enough to be unpredictable.

Seeing Sempera through the lens of Jules was interesting. Her opinion of her world and it’s occupants definitely coloured mine as a reader, but Holland is such an expressive writer that that isn’t all you see. There is plenty of room to see past Jules’ prejudices and realise that she holds them in the first place. We don’t learn a lot about any side characters, but it seems purposeful rather than lazy and I wasn’t bothered by it.

Bonus points for this book: women supporting women, no true love triangle, no overt or overtly annoying romance, great characters, cool world concept, and an interesting villain.

The more I read, the better it got. I was breathless by the last chapter. I will certainly be reading the next book.

What did you think of Everless? Read any shifty or non-shifty YA lately? Let me know in the comments below!

Books to Read Sans Synopsis

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Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Thoughts on Tomes and created by Lainey @ Ginger Reads Lainey. You can check out the group’s Goodreads page for this month’s topics!

This week’s theme is books that it’s best to go into blindly. Those few titles you want to recommend without spoiling anything, and just end up describing as vaguely as possible. “No trust me, don’t google it – just read it! You’ll love it, I swear.” These books are usually fantastic if you can read them unspoiled, but even their own back covers can sometimes mar the story within. (How do publishers let that happen?)

Here are five books that I think you should read without a synopsis. Either they spoil the content a little too much or they misrepresent the story enough to make you unhappy with it. Just trust me.

Everything I Never Told You, by Celeste Ng

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Girl with a Pearl Earring, by Tracy Chevalier

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Cathy’s Book, by Jordan Wiseman

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Genesis, by Bernard Beckett

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Deathless, By Catherynne M. Valente

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There you have it! Some of these are genre fiction, and some are not. I’ll not be telling you which is which, because that would spoil the whole point of this post. Have you read any of my choices? Do they coincide with the books you would recommend someone read without a synopsis?

Let me know in the comments below!

Books for Hufflepuffs

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Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Thoughts on Tomes and created by Lainey @ Ginger Reads Lainey. You can check out the group’s Goodreads page for this month’s topics!

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This week’s topic is books that represent your Hogwarts house – for me, that’s Hufflepuff. Though I admittedly look awful in yellow, I’m a proud badger! The listed choices for this week are in no particular order.

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Watership Down
As a kid I couldn’t get enough of this harrowing tale of friendship and survival. As an adult, I try to re-read it once every few years. This book shook me to my core the first time I read it. The rabbits keep on keeping on, despite all odds. What’s more Hufflepuff than that?

AsterixAsterix

That’s right, this is on the list. I grew up reading these (je suis franco-ontarienne) and love them to this day. These BD’s about a small village’s refusal of the Roman occupation is still laugh out loud funny – especially all those name puns. Asterix and Obelix have an exceptional friendship, and the resistance of their village to being conquered is earmarked by stubbornness and good humour that is characteristic of Hufflepuffs. Plus, they love a good feast!

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The Southern Vampire Mysteries

I loved these books. I sped through them faster than you’d believe (and no, I haven’t seen the show). They’re on the list because Sookie is for sure a Hufflepuff. She’s just trying to live her life and all this bizarre stuff is happening around her. What does she do? Takes it in stride, ’cause that’s life. Also, she’s a romantic who really does not react well to betrayal. Why? Because she’s a hella loyal badger.

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Maresi

A simple story told in a fairy-tale style, I really enjoyed this book. The first in a series, it follows the burgeoning friendship of two girls, Maresi and Jai. They live in the Red Abbey, a haven for females as it is forbidden for men to set food on the island. It’s a story of loyalty, community, magic, and sacrifice. Hufflepuffs can be brave, clever, and sneaky when they have to but the driving factors are always loyalty and friendship. This story has that in spades. redwall.jpg

Redwall Series

Literally all of these books capture what it means to be a Hufflepuff. The peaceful beasts of Redwall abbey extend aid to all those who ask, and live quiet lives of plenty. They live as a community with shared values and goals, and when threatened they’ll take up arms to defend their lives, though they mostly abhor violence. In far away Salamandastron there live warrior badgers who are capable of entering berserker rages and decimating throngs of vermin foes – but who live as benevolent overseers of the hares of the long patrol unless absolutely necessary. That is about as Hufflepuff as anything could ever be. Also, there are feasts. Because again, we’re ‘Puffs.

That’s all for T5W this week! Have you checked out any of the books on my list? Do you have other suggestions for Hufflepuff reads, or for books that suit your Hogwarts House? Let me know in the comments below!

 

 

 

 

 

 

T5W: Favourite Minor Characters

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Wednesday is here again, and with it time for another Top 5! Top Five Wednesday was created by Gingerreadslainey on Youtube, and you can find the group with topics and participants here.

This week the topic is favourite minor characters! This topic was pretty much made for fanfic fanatics and so I’m super pleased to participate. Every character I’ve chosen is one whose potential I think extends beyond the canon they were placed in. I’ve either written fanfic about them or read it extensively.

#1 – Leah Clearwater (Twilight)

That’s right, the very first one is a Twilight character. I’m not even sorry. The only female werewolf of known existence in the series canon is a bitter and spiteful woman who would rather spit on everyone who gives her a side-eye than consider accepting help from a friend. I love her for it. She was intensely screwed over by fate and remains strong in the face of teenage boys thinking about what a bitch she is all the time. You go girl. Live your damn life.

#2 – Fleur Delacour (Harry Potter)

Fleur is a Tri-Wizard champion and eventually becomes wife to Bill Weasley. The magical prowess that she must have had as a champion is often overlooked in favour of her Veela heritage and the general dislike that the Weasley family have for her. She’s a powerful witch who knows her own mind, eschewing those who think her silly or vain. Ain’t nobody got time for that, especially someone who can turn into a fireball-wielding bird woman or destroy you in a non-verbal duel.

#3 – Genya Safin (The Grisha Trilogy)

Genya is a Tailor, hated by her peers and superiors and doomed to a rather tragic life. While her gift is unique and arguably powerful she is made a servant and a plaything to royals who know nothing of how to love or respect their subjects. Genya does the best she can with the choices she’s been given. Beautiful and ruthless, she hides a soft and vulnerable interior and holds a torch for a man more interested in science than romance. Her story is a tragedy and she was incredible throughout it all.

#4 – Angela the Herbalist (Inheritance Cycle)

Angela is a mysterious woman of indeterminate age. A fortune-teller, witch, and herbalist accompanied by a werecat companion, the reader doesn’t learn much of her background. She knows (and sometimes follows) the customs of many races, most notably the Urgals. Is she one of the greatly diminished Grey Folk? Uncertain, but she is far older than she appears and has no issues with poisoning a whole bunch of dudes before a battle breaks out to lower the casualties on her own side.

#5 – Tolkien’s Literary Ladies

I’d also like to give a shout-out to Tolkien’s literary ladies. Eowyn, a shieldmaiden who dreams of the glory of battle and learns the truth of war. Arwen, who loves where she will though it meant she would never sail to Valinor. Galadriel, ring-bearer and one of the greatest of the Noldor. Tolkien’s canon has played host to thousands of tales about these ladies and their peers, and I’m eternally grateful for that.

That’s it for today! What do you think of my choices? What would yours be? Let me know in the comments below!

TTT: Impulsive Cover Buys (That Paid Off)

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jamie @ The Broke and the Bookish.

It’s been a while since I’ve done a Top Ten Tuesday, and this week is a cover freebie. Below are ten books that I impulse bought based solely (or mostly) on their covers. I think the saying ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ does a terrible disservice to the folks who spend their time designing and illustrating book covers.

When I have the disposable income to do so, I’ll cover buy a few books and see how it goes. The books that made the list this week are cover buys that ended up being favourites of mine.

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Sabriel: This first instalment in a series of fantastic heroines, necromancy, and insidious magic set me on a path to seeking out more cool and unique fantasy contests.

A Certain Slant of Light: This beautiful and slightly creepy cover conceals a unique story of the afterlife that I’ve never seen replicated before or since.

Hawkeye: The colour choice and bold graphics drew me in, and this turned out to be one of the funniest comics I’ve picked up in ages.

annihilationSunshineSaga

Annihilation: This gorgeous graphic cover is the first in a creepy and slow-moving speculative sci-fi trilogy that is absolutely unforgettable.

Sunshine: In a world where magical gifts manifest and creatures roam, the titular character is trapped with a vampire in an incredibly interesting story. The sparkly cover is rather different from the content matter, but it was certainly eye-catching.

Saga: I had no idea of the epic tale of family and space that waited for me within the pages of this excellently illustrated comic. Fiona Staples is a master.

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Kaptara: This brilliantly coloured and rendered cover conceals a hilarious story set in deep space with a distinctly 80’s vibe.

Deathless: The stark and beautiful graphic cover still doesn’t quite convey the tale of love, death, and magic that lays within the pages of this book. The story stayed with me for years.

The Gentlemen’s Alliance Cross: Arina’s Tanemura’s striking manga illustrations are densely detailed and convey her story lines wonderfully. The first in a series that I absolutely adore.

Fionavar Tapestry Omnibus

The Fionavar Tapestry: This beautiful cover introduced me to my favourite author via a series that would go on to influence both my reading and writing forever more.

That’s all for today! Have you read any of my cover picks? What theme did you choose this week? Let me know in the comments below!

 

Spring Bookish Bingo

Hello folks, I’m back! I know that last week I said that I would be back to my regularly scheduled Fanfic Feature Friday today, but I’ve just moved this week and time has gotten away from me. So come Monday I’ll be back to my regular schedule.

For now, Winter Bookish Bingo is over, but Spring Bookish Bingo has arrived! Bookish Bingo is hosted by Bekka at Pretty Deadly Blog, if you’re interested in joining. The Spring round runs from March until the end of May.

This card is very exciting – I already have a whole bunch of ideas of what I’d like to fill the squares with! Once again, I’ll be trying to fill the whole card.

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Some ideas I’m kicking around for the various categories:

Scary: The Dead-Tossed Waves, Survive the Night

Blue Cover: The Silmarillion, It Started With Goodbye

Magic: Roar

Over 500 pages: Edgar and Lucy

PoC On Cover: The Prey of Gods

Non-Fiction: The Right to Be Cold

2017 Debut: Maud

Witches: A Great and Terrible Beauty

That’s all for now!

If you have suggestions for the other categories, let me know. If you’re choosing different reads for those categories I’d love to know your picks. Comment below to weigh in.

Update 2: Winter Bookish Bingo

We’re almost through with Winter Bookish Bingo, so I thought I’d post another quick update on how I’m doing. Find my last update here. Bookish Bingo is hosted by Bekka at Pretty Deadly Blog.

Categories with a snowflake are ones that I’ve read for so far. The books read since the last update are listed below!

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Sequel: Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

Own Voices: If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo

GR Choice Nominee: Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

Blue Cover: The Djinn Falls in Love

Cover Buy: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Set Abroad: Giant Days Vol 1.

So, no new bingos since my last update, but still a fair amount of reading got done! I have a few categories left, but I don’t think I’ll be filling out any more squares. I’m currently reading The Silmarillion and Edgar and Lucy – neither of which fit into any of these categories. They’re both quite long as well so it remains to be seen if I’ll have time to read anything else before February comes to an end.

Are you participating in Winter Bookish Bingo? How are you doing so far? Let me know in the comments below.