Posted in Book Memes

Underrepresented Tropes and Characters in Books

“Today is the last day I will see my brother.”

First line in Taken by Erin Bowman

Hi, guys and welcome to my first post for the weekly meme Let’s Talk Bookish, which is hosted by Rukky over at Eternity Books. Each week we get a different bookish topic to discuss, which is always great and educational. I’ve been reading her posts for this meme for a while and so I finally decided to take part. This week’s topic is tropes/characters that I think are poorly or under represented in books. I think these things are very genre-specific so I’ll stick to my favorite genre, fantasy. It will also mostly be relating to tropes and characters I miss in YA although it can apply to adult fantasy, too. I will also say that I haven’t read every single fantasy book ever (unfortunately), so these might appear in books I just haven’t read. However, since I haven’t come across them, I will still say they are underrepresented.

The introverted, socially anxious girl who isn’t good in a fight

It isn’t completely odd to see this type of character in books but most often they appear as side characters. This type of girl is never the main character in fantasy. She pops up more often in contemporaries, and I love reading those. I would really like to see her more in fantasy basically because I would love to identify with female fantasy characters more. Don’t get me wrong, those kick-ass, well-spoken women are great, and they definitely also need to be there. They serve a very empowering purpose for other women which is what we’ve been craving for a long time.

Now, they’re just everywhere and I think there’s a need to show some more flawed women in fantasy or at least women with some other qualities and assets. Specifically, the introvert who’s not physically strong but has other attributes. She could be highly intelligent and/or empathetic. There are many options, so dear authors, please include this character type some more. I know it can be difficult to incorporate this character into an action-packed fantasy story but I believe it can be done.

Sports in fantasy worlds

We all know about Quidditch, but I when I was thinking about making this list, I couldn’t recall any other sport from a fantasy world. So many parts of fantasy worlds are copied from our own world so why are sports not more common? The only thing that really come close are those deadly competitions where people gather to watch someone die. Those appear quite often in fantasy. I was thinking of a slightly less violent version of that which of course would incorporate whatever magic the world has. Like Quidditch.  

Only one point of view

I’m not sure if this is considered a trope but I wanted to include it anyway. In fantasy, it’s become more and more popular to have several POV characters in books. Please stop that. There will always be a character I like more than the others, so I’m bored or annoyed when I have to read chapters from the other POVs. It doesn’t mean I hate the book, but it would be nice to just once in a while read a fantasy book with only one point of view. Especially in YA. A YA book doesn’t need so many main characters because they don’t need to be that complex in terms of characters. Remember Harry Potter? The Hunger Games? Only one POV character, and those books are still considered some of the best YA books ever. It can be done.

I’ve also noticed that many authors use dual perspective – a girl and a boy. I think it’s very clever to include different genders to get different perspectives. If it wasn’t because they ALWAYS fall in love, I would love it. Another advantage of a single POV there. At least it would be a little bit more of a surprise who the love interest is (because you know he/she is going to exist).

Do you miss these tropes and characters as well or are there others you wish authors would include more? Let me know in the comments.

Posted in Book Memes

Extraordinary Book Titles

“Chapter the first, in which the Messenger of the Immortals arrives in a surprising shape, looking for a permanent vessel; and after being chased by her through the woods, indie kid Finn meets his final fate.”

First line in The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness

Hi, you lovely people. I’m here with another Top Ten Tuesday post and this time the topic is extraordinary book titles. It’s the kind of topic that is open to interpretation because what is an extraordinary title really? For me that means titles that are completely their own. Titles that can never fit another book and at the same time captures the essence of the content of the book. I have found ten examples of those unique book titles and I’m very excited to share them with you.

Remember, Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish but is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Go check out her blog for future topics.

As mentioned, I have ten titles for you. The first 5 are titles of books I’ve already read while the last 5 are books I want to read. Many of these books caught my attention by their title so enjoy!

Books I’ve Read

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

Reasons for being awesome:

  • The promise of mischief.
  • All the L’s. I love saying it out loud.

Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

Reasons for being awesome:

  • The hint of both America and Britain and their blending together.
  • It fits the story perfectly. 

Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor

Reasons for being awesome:

  • Sounds like something out of a Shakespeare play.
  • Could also be the title of a dramatic song in a Broadway musical (the true goal of all book titles).

The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness

Reasons for being awesome:

  • Hilarious!
  • Makes you intrigued as to who ‘the rest of us’ are. And why are they just living there?

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera

Reasons for being awesome:

  • You know the ending but still want to read it (how is that even possible?)
  • You know you’re going to cry so no unpleasant surprise there.

Books on My TBR

The Lonely Hearts Hotel by Heather O’Neill

Reasons for being awesome:

  • It reminds me of the song by The Beatles called Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (which is funny because I don’t listen to The Beatles).
  • The implication that there’s an entire hotel filled with loneliness and sadness (I like depressing books, alright)

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

Reasons for being awesome:

  • It’s way too long. I love it.
  • Makes me imagine a cute, little planet with a face on it. I just want to give it hug.

Autoboyograhy by Christina Lauren

Reason for being awesome:

  • Clever!
  • You might need to read it twice to get it.

The Library of the Unwritten by A. J. Hackwith

Reasons for being awesome:

  • The word ‘library’.
  • Hints at a library with secrets. What is unwritten??

You Asked for Perfect by Laura Silverman

Reasons for being awesome:

  • So relatable!
  • Thought-provoking in the best way possible. 

Posted in Book Memes

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Want to Read Soon

“I walk to the bus station by myself.”

First line in Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Hi fellow readers. It’s Tuesday. It’s a Top Ten. It’s a great day. Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish but is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl and today’s topic is one of the classic book-related posts: my Fall TBR. I don’t really do TBR-posts because it seems like such a commitment. One that I can’t stick to. Therefore, I’ve changed the topic a bit to books I want to read soon (not limiting myself to Fall).

I’m fairly certain I’ll have read at least half of these by the end of the year (when I return to this post in January, I’m going to realize what a failure I am lol). There is an overweight of fantasy sequels but also a few first books in series because I’m me and I can’t finish series before I start new ones. Here they are (I’ll give you a synopsis for the ones that aren’t sequels).

Blood of Elves by Andrzej Sapkowski

Book 3 in The Witcher OR the first book that aren’t short stories so I’m kind of excited to see what that’s like. I haven’t been a huge fan of the series so far so this is basically its last chance. I’ve waited for it for so long at the library but it should be in my hands soon.

Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell

IT’S OUT TODAY! It’s very close to being my most anticipated release of the year (I only want The Toll more). Now I just need to wait for the library to get it unless I see it in a bookstore. Then I might buy it by accident.

Thick as Thieves by Megan Whalen Turner

Book 5 in The Queen’s Thief. This is the last book that has been released so I really want to get caught up. I believe the final book is coming sometime next year so I need to be ready.

The Lonely Hearts Hotel by Heather O’Neill

With echoes of The Night Circus, a spellbinding story about two gifted orphans in love with each other since they can remember whose childhood talents allow them to rewrite their future.

The Lonely Hearts Hotel is a love story with the power of legend. An unparalleled tale of charismatic pianos, invisible dance partners, radicalized chorus girls, drug-addicted musicians, brooding clowns, and an underworld whose economy hinges on the price of a kiss. In a landscape like this, it takes great creative gifts to thwart one’s origins. It might also take true love.

Two babies are abandoned in a Montreal orphanage in the winter of 1910. Before long, their talents emerge: Pierrot is a piano prodigy; Rose lights up even the dreariest room with her dancing and comedy. As they travel around the city performing clown routines, the children fall in love with each other and dream up a plan for the most extraordinary and seductive circus show the world has ever seen.

Separated as teenagers, sent off to work as servants during the Great Depression, both descend into the city’s underworld, dabbling in sex, drugs and theft in order to survive. But when Rose and Pierrot finally reunite beneath the snowflakes after years of searching and desperate poverty the possibilities of their childhood dreams are renewed, and they’ll go to extreme lengths to make them come true. Soon, Rose, Pierrot and their troupe of clowns and chorus girls have hit New York, commanding the stage as well as the alleys, and neither the theater nor the underworld will ever look the same.

I only recently heard about this book when I read review of it over at Emer’s blog, A Little Haze Book Blog. Even though she didn’t particularly like it, I knew that I needed to read it soon. The synopsis compares it to The Night Circus but from what I’ve otherwise read about it, it also reminds me of A Little Life. A mix of those two books won’t be on my TBR for long.

The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson

I long for the days before the Last Desolation.

The age before the Heralds abandoned us and the Knights Radiant turned against us. A time when there was still magic in the world and honor in the hearts of men.

The world became ours, and yet we lost it. Victory proved to be the greatest test of all. Or was that victory illusory? Did our enemies come to recognize that the harder they fought, the fiercer our resistance? Fire and hammer will forge steel into a weapon, but if you abandon your sword, it eventually rusts away.

There are four whom we watch. The first is the surgeon, forced to forsake healing to fight in the most brutal war of our time. The second is the assassin, a murderer who weeps as he kills. The third is the liar, a young woman who wears a scholar’s mantle over the heart of a thief. The last is the prince, a warlord whose eyes have opened to the ancient past as his thirst for battle wanes.

The world can change. Surgebinding and Shardwielding can return; the magics of ancient days become ours again. These four people are key.

One of them may redeem us. And one of them will destroy us.

Technically, this isn’t on my TBR anymore because I’ve already started it. I’m including it anyway because I only made it to page 600 before I had to return it to the library. So, now I’m waiting for it again.

The Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson

The last book before I’m caught up with the series. It would be just lovely if I could check that off on the list before the end of the year. The previous book left me really excited for the series so there’s a chance it will happen.

Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

Her story is a phenomenon. Her life is a disaster.

In the real world, Eliza Mirk is shy, weird, and friendless. Online, she’s LadyConstellation, the anonymous creator of the wildly popular webcomic Monstrous Sea. Eliza can’t imagine enjoying the real world as much as she loves the online one, and she has no desire to try.

Then Wallace Warland, Monstrous Sea’s biggest fanfiction writer, transfers to her school. Wallace thinks Eliza is just another fan, and as he draws her out of her shell, she begins to wonder if a life offline might be worthwhile.

But when Eliza’s secret is accidentally shared with the world, everything she’s built—her story, her relationship with Wallace, and even her sanity—begins to fall apart.

I mainly want to read this because of the anxiety representation which also means I’m very, very scared of it. I have social anxiety and have recently decided that I actively want to try to handle it and learn more about it. That means reading books like this so hopefully I’ll run out of excuses not to read it (if you know of any other books about social anxiety, please let me know).

The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima

Times are hard in the mountain city of Fellsmarch. Reformed thief Han Alister will do almost anything to eke out a living for his family. The only thing of value he has is something he can’t sell—the thick silver cuffs he’s worn since birth. They’re clearly magicked—as he grows, they grow, and he’s never been able to get them off.

One day, Han and his clan friend, Dancer, confront three young wizards setting fire to the sacred mountain of Hanalea. Han takes an amulet from Micah Bayar, son of the High Wizard, to keep him from using it against them. Soon Han learns that the amulet has an evil history—it once belonged to the Demon King, the wizard who nearly destroyed the world a millennium ago. With a magical piece that powerful at stake, Han knows that the Bayars will stop at nothing to get it back.

Meanwhile, Raisa ana’Marianna, princess heir of the Fells, has her own battles to fight. She’s just returned to court after three years of freedom in the mountains—riding, hunting, and working the famous clan markets. Raisa wants to be more than an ornament in a glittering cage. She aspires to be like Hanalea—the legendary warrior queen who killed the Demon King and saved the world. But her mother has other plans for her.

The Seven Realms tremble when the lives of Hans and Raisa collide, fanning the flames of the smoldering war between clans and wizards.

You can start three new series when you’ve finished one, right? It’s quite a long series so I really want to get started on it… and then wait a very long time before I finish it.

The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden

I think I’ve been meaning to read this for the past 3 months. It’s probably not going to happen this year but I’m putting it on this list to at least pretend that I’m pushing myself to read it.

You Asked for Perfect by Laura Silverman

Senior Ariel Stone is the perfect college applicant: first chair violin, dedicated community volunteer, and expected valedictorian. He works hard – really hard – to make his life look effortless. A failed Calculus quiz is not part of that plan. Not when he’s number one. Not when his peers can smell weakness like a freshman’s body spray.

Figuring a few all-nighters will preserve his class rank, Ariel throws himself into studying. His friends will understand if he skips a few plans, and he can sleep when he graduates. Except Ariel’s grade continues to slide. Reluctantly, he gets a tutor. Amir and Ariel have never gotten along, but Amir excels in Calculus, and Ariel is out of options.

Ariel may not like Calc, but he might like Amir. Except adding a new relationship to his long list of commitments may just push him past his limit.

Only the second contemporary on this list, and it’s for those moments when I need a break from fantasy (if that occurs).

Those were ten books I hope to read within the next three months. Do you have some books you absolutely want to get to before we hit January?

Posted in Book Memes

Books On My TBR That I’m Avoiding

“Look, I didn’t want to be a half-blood.”

First line in Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

Welcome to another Top Ten Tuesday where the topic is books on my TBR that I’m avoiding. Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish but is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

This list is not going to be very long for me. I tend to keep my TBR fairly short (currently on 60 books) and only add books to it that I’m positive I want to read. There aren’t a lot of maybe-books on there but I did find a couple that was added a long time ago so enjoy.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo

This was added after I watched a musical of it which was incredibly amazing (really, go see it if you ever have the chance!). So, I know the story and how different it is from the Disney movie (that was an unpleasant surprise). Maybe that is what’s holding me back from reading it. I’d rather pick up a book that I don’t know how ends, you know. If anyone has read it, I would love to know what you thought.

Any Book By Rick Riordan

I have a complicated relationship with Riordan’s books. I so wish that I could be 12 years old, so that I could actually love those books because I want to read them. They are just a bit on the younger side but my mind is set on reading them so I’m going to. It’s just taking me a while.

The Inexplicable Logic of My Life by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Both this one and the next book was added to my TBR right around the time I started watching booktube. Both recommendations came from Hannah at A Clockwork Reader, because she was one of the first ones, I watched every video from. She’s very sweet but I’ve come to realize that we don’t really share reading taste. I still watch her videos though. I wasn’t overly excited about this book when I added it, but I love Sáenz other book, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, so I’ve kept this one on my TBR. It’s not really calling to me though.

The Weight of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore

Another Hannah recommendation. I believe she compared it to The Night Circus, which I really liked so I didn’t need much else to add it to my TBR. I’ve later realized that I’m not a fan of magical realism which this one is. I also know very little about it, so it’s not something I’m dying to pick up.

A very short list for me today, but I really want to know if you’ve read any of these. Maybe you can push me to finally read them (or push them off my TBR).

Posted in Book Memes

Books I Enjoyed That Are Outside of My Comfort Zone

“As Katie wound her way among the tables, a breeze from the Atlantic rippled through her hair.”

First line in Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks

It’s Tuesday and I decided that I wanted to try out Top Ten Tuesday which was created by The Broke and the Bookish, but is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. The topic for this week is books that are out of my comfort zone but I enjoyed anyway, which is such a cool topic. We all have our go-to genre and a book from that genre doesn’t require much convincing for us to pick it up. The topic/subject matter of books can also make us instantly interested while we steer clear of others. However, sometimes we end up taking a chance on these should-not-be-for-me-books and find they’re actually awesome and maybe expand our future preferences.

I managed to find 9 of these books. They’re not all books I consider to be my favorites but I really enjoyed reading them and they taught me something new about my reading tastes.

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

An adult contemporary romance and that is so rare for me to pick up. It was recommended to me as the funniest book that person had ever read so that won me over. It’s is very funny, and I literally laughed out loud several times while reading it.

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

This is still my favorite book of the year. It was out of my comfort zone, firstly because it’s not fantasy. It’s fiction which I do read but not very often. Secondly, it takes place over several decades which I never like to read. I don’t like time jumps in general which is necessary for a book that spans so many years. A Little Life is the only exception. My love for these characters made me turn a blind eye to everything else.

The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater

When I read the synopsis for The Raven Boys, I was sure the book wasn’t for me. It sounded like teenage relationship angst with a paranormal twist and that just made me think of Twilight (which I’m very much done with). People kept recommending it and I learned some more about it which made me believe it wasn’t another Twilight. Now, I’m so happy to have read it because that friendship group is perfect.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

My favorite book. I feel weird when I tell people that my favorite genre is fantasy but my favorite book is a contemporary. I do read contemporaries, so it’s not that far out of my comfort zone but I’m still very picky with the contemporaries.

Seriously… I’m Kidding by Ellen DeGeneres

I don’t read nonfiction at all. A friend of mine added this to her TBR on Goodreads and I thought why not. It must be funny. It was hilarious and interesting at the same time so I’ve actually been wanting to read more of her books.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

I forced myself to read at least one classic a year and last year, I picked Jane Eyre because that seemed quite popular. I thoroughly liked Jane as a main character whereas I often feel disconnected from the main characters in classics because of the writing style.

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

Yes, I know this is a fantasy book and therefore shouldn’t be outside of my comfort zone. It still is though because of the way it’s told. Our main character Kvothe is telling his life story to a chronicler and to me that’s just one big flashback. I don’t like flashbacks. As I see it, I’ve been spoiled for the ending and now I’m just being told how we got there. Just, no. The Name of the Wind had so many other things going for it, especially the world and the writing, that I really enjoyed it anyway.

American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis

The only horror book I’ve ever read and I’m still wondering why I thought it was a good idea to read it. Don’t get me wrong, I liked it for what it was because I was both fascinated and horrified while reading it. However, I read this in 2015 and there are still images in my head I wish wasn’t there.

Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks

To end the list, we have another contemporary romance and yes, that was a surprise to me too. I’ve read a couple of Sparks’ books but this is the only one I really liked. The romance was alright but I mostly enjoyed the other themes of the book which I’d never read about before. I think the way Sparks portrayed the issues was the main reason why I was hooked the entire way through.

The end. I hope you enjoyed my first post for Top Ten Tuesday. I’d love to know if you’ve read any of them and maybe had the same experience as I did. What books do you consider to be out of your comfort zone? Chat with me in the comments.