Top 5 Literary and Stylistic Choices that Upset Me

 

 

For this week’s Top 5 Wednesday, the prompt mentions things that irk us as readers. I decided to discuss things that bothered me enough to conside unhauling a book (I tend to just pass them on to my siblings, in case I regret the choice). Here are some of my pet peeves in terms of literary and stylistic choices. Some spoilers ahead.  PS: I hope no one is offended by my opinions. My goal is not to bash anything, but simply to express my annoyance.

5. monster’s point of view

Examples: Our Dark Duet, A Conjuring of Light* (didn’t think of unhauling the books, but I was really irritated by both of them in these “monologues”) 

Often used as a way to hype up the conflict between good and evil, showing a “mysterious monster’s” point of view is often italicized. It is also frequently fragmented and hard to follow. In some ways, it reminds me of Harry hearing Nagini and Voldemort talking to each other. I don’t like that. Just narrate the story the way you always have. Unless the villain/monstrous thing is actually a three-dimensional nuanced character, I don’t really care for the “pure evil” narrative. I could go on and on about this, but in short: I don’t believe anything is “pure evil.”

4. mental illness as a spoiler

Example: Every Last Word 

This one, I definitely unhauled it, because it was like, “Surprise! Another mental illness was at hand here.” We have enough stories about how confusing mental illness can be for a person. What I want is people who already know their diagnosis navigating their paths through life. A good example of this is Turtles All the Way Down. 

3. pretty girl shaming

Example: The School for Good and Evil 

Nope. Stop assuming that girls who care about their appearance are shallow and silly. You can be a multi-faceted person with different interests. Besides, caring about one’s appearance is not a reflection on one’s morality or intelligence. Stop pitting women against each other.

2. unnecessary and surprise flashbacks

Example: The Lies of Locke Lamora 

Don’t jump around the text for no reason. Oh, it makes me so mad that this way of establishing characters’ back-story was used. Ugh, no. I barely could keep up with the main plot, and then all these flashbacks were used to help add dimension to the characters. Let me tell you, there are much clearer ways to narrate such aspects of a character. I felt like I was listening to a drunk man while reading this story, to be quite honest. Hint: not a good thing.

 1. characters who use inappropriate nicknames

Example: The Girl in the Steel Corset , Hush Hush 

They just met, and a day or two later, he’s calling her “sweetheart.” And, it’s not like Han Solo, where it is used sarcastically.  Heck, even Lea did not act amused by his nicknames. I just wish stories did not skip important boundaries being established. Look, I am sure people can fall in love while respecting each others’ space. Don’t call people things that are not appropriate for how close you really are. Stop making it okay for people to use terms of endearment without consent. This leads me to another issue: stop glamorizing or romanticizing sexual violence (example: Twilight). I don’t care that he’s a vampire. If she’s covered in bruises, that was not really a love scene.

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Wishful Thinking about TBR Authors I’d Like To Emulate

 

 

As we bid November adieu, I am following the prompt for Top 5 Wednesday’s last one for the month. The topic is the authors I wish I could write like (or be like). Because I talk a lot about books I am reading or have already read, I want to share some of the authors I have not read anything from yet. Surprise! Also, for whatever reason, this list is only featuring women. Whoops.

5. morgan rhodes

I am stupidly pumped for Falling Kingdoms. Perhaps this is a foolish feeling, but I have a good feeling about it. Part of my reasons for liking Morgan Rhodes is because of how she approaches fans. From what I hear, she doesn’t treat her readers as though they’re immature. Her characters sound complex, the relationships slow building and real, and I am here for this.

Besides, I am noticing a lot of trends with fantasy writers, and Rhodes doesn’t seem to be copying anyone. I genuinely think all that “Young Adult Game of Thrones” is just marketing oversimplification.  I want to be like her just for the gutsy take on a complicated story format while still making it accessible to readers. I mean, the chances of me ever reading a George R.R. Martin are nonexistent, because of the content. Rhodes’ text seems more approachable.

4. gail carriger

My experience with a popular steampunk novel (The Girl in the Steel Corset) was ill-fated. Now, my approach to this genre is tinged with wariness. But, I have a really good feeling about Gail Carriger, just by looking at her interviews on YouTube. Her books’ covers are gorgeous, too. And, I want to be like her: creative, charming, and committed to a genre that feels authentic to who I am as a person.

3. Cathrynne m. valente

All I read about her books is how inventive and strange they are. In particular, I am thinking of Deathless, which baffled many people. I have heard of her newest book, one involving the Bronte sisters, and even that one garnered much confusion. And, listen, that is awesome, because I think complex texts like hers allow for personal soul-searching with the book. You start to see yourself in the story, rather than follow the “right” interpretation. What a cool thing to elicit in a reader’s mind.

2. sabaa tahir

Being a woman of color in the writing world sounds intimidating. Sabaa Tahir carries herself with such grace and confidence. I don’t follow writers on Twitter (or social media in general), but, from what I’ve seen, her tweets are hilarious and poignant. Furthermore, her books take on an manifesting an uncommon inspiration (Ancient Rome!).

 1. angie thomas

As of the time of writing this post, I have not officially started reading Thomas’ The Hate You Give. So, she obviously makes the cut. I am in awe of how necessary and brave the story itself is. It’s hard to speak out and share experiences; naturally, I admire Angie Thomas for doing so with grace and kindness. Besides, she really calls people out on their crap, which is amazing.

 

Honorable mentions

Roshani Chokshi, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Marie Lu.

 

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Top 5 Books I am Grateful that I Read This Year

 

 

Welcome to Top 5 Wednesday, a meme based on a Goodreads group. In this group, there are topics generated for the book community to list their top 5. This week, I will be listing the top 5 books I am grateful that I read this year.

5. the sun is also a star by nicola yoon

It was not a perfect book, but it highlighted things that I worried about as an immigrant coming to the states. Concerns about identity, stereotypes, and belonging all sprang up in this book in a sensitive and yet honest way.

4. Not a drop to drink by mindy mcginnis

This book posits really difficult moral questions in an intense yet simple way. I am grateful for Lynn and her mother, Lucy, and Mr. Stebbs. They brought forth a tough discussion on compassion in trying times. In no way was this story idealistic in its approach to these choices we have to make. And, yes, we aren’t in a post-apocalyptic world (debatable honestly). But, I will say that we still have to make a choice about the kind of people we want to be in the face of adversity and difficulty.

3. A Monster calls by patrick ness

Call me entirely too romantic, but I find myself thinking of this story often. It’s about letting go of people, releasing connections we once thought were necessary. It’s about the loss of innocence in the face of death. Most importantly, it about speaking your truth and facing yourself. Being honest with yourself in terms of troubles, pain, and frustrations. I love this book. So grateful that I have read it this year.

2. more happy than not by adam silvera

This book made me see my complicated relationship with my past. Like, I sometimes assume that things were much better before I sought help. Erasure of the past, if it ever is an option, is something I wish for often as well. And, this book showed me that time and events have a complicated relationship with the development of a person. Also: consequences of radical actions (like erasing a past) are beyond the scheme of what one assumes to be possible and predictable.

 

 1.  turtles all the way down by john green 

Ah, jeez. I am so in love with this story. It really spoke to me about relationships (friendships) and mental illness, particularly anxiety and depersonalization (both of which I have officially been diagnosed with). The story is moving and funny, sad and hopeful all at once. There are references to spirals, which is something my mom always points out to me in my behaviors.

And, I just keep thinking of this quote from this book, a book written by my favorite author:

“The thing about a spiral is, if you follow it inward, it never actually ends. It just keeps tightening, infinitely.”

This is an accurate description of these spirals I get into. I’m thankful for finding representation in this book, and for feeling understood.

    For this week's Top 5 Wednesday, the prompt mentions things that irk us
    As we bid November adieu, I am following the prompt for Top 5
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Top 5 Problematic Favorite Characters

 

Welcome to Top 5 Wednesday. Here’s a link to the Goodreads group so you can follow along with topics and such. This week, the topic is about problematic favorite characters.

5. Looking for alaska by john green

I will always love Alaska Young, even though I do acknowledge that she is a bit of a manic pixie dream girl. Often, I find myself thinking of her, more than Pudge and the gang. Incidentally, I read this book at least six or seven years ago, and haven’t reread it since. That is a testament to how memorable Alaska is. “The only way out is through.”

4. Eleanor and park by rainbow rowell

A lot of people dislike how Park is portrayed in this book. I do think this, though: he and Eleanor broke my heart on such an epic level. Like Alaska, I find myself really drawn to them because of their social awkwardness. Also, I felt like Eleanor’s family situation was borderline triggering at times. She reminds me of my own experience with abusive family dynamics and, for that I connected with her a lot.

3. the falconer by elizabeth may

Gavin, the dude who stole my heart even more than Kiaran, did something horrible in book 2. Yet, I found myself still sympathetic towards him. Maybe it is because he was such a close friend to the main character? I am not sure. I just love him, even after the end of the final book, I still love him so much.

2. anna and the french kiss by stephanie perkins

I read this trilogy of companion novels a long time ago, and I noticed recently that people have problems with it. Mainly, the issue is that the endgame couple starts their relationship based on cheating. So, at first, I put the books away in shame because, oh my god, I didn’t even remember this fact. But, I put them back on my shelves, because I love them and I recognize that they are problematic.

 1. poison study by maria v. snyder

Look, this person is mentioned as a part of the LGBT+ community, but it’s not explored or explained. And, it makes me mad that this person was not given enough exposition. I love these books, but this is something I want more of.

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Top 5 Wednesday: Top 5 Books with Paranormal Creatures

It’s Top 5 Wednesday time! This week, the topic is to discuss paranormal creatures and list the top 5 books with a certain creature. Because I’m indecisive, I will be talking about all kinds of memorable creatures I have encountered in literature.

5. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

The mutts in this trilogy are haunting, straight out of a scary novel. One of the most terrifying images was when Katniss could hear other contestants projected through the mutts. In that sense, the guilt of having killed them intensifies. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the mutts.

4. The Falconer by Elizabeth May

Fairies never seemed so dangerous to me, until I have read this trilogy. Good God, they are bewildering and taunting in their kills. The scene where Aileana meets Sorcha for the first time still gives me shivers. Iconic. Plus, this is a more complicated take on the mythology behind fairies and their relationship with humans.

3. Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis

While this is not a literal paranormal novel, I say it’s certainly offering commentary on humanity and the need for survival. How far is too far for us to carry on living? Mother and Lynn are a great team, because they’re so driven to shooting everyone down (except for Stebbs).

2. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

Yep, I’m still talking about this book, because it blew my mind. While I have mixed feelings about the monster’s “villainy” in here, he was still rather profound and moving. Like, really moving. I’m not sure if the thought of Liam Neeson voicing this monster sways me. I never read the monster as a “bad” influence. To me, he was a guide, a therapist almost. Sometimes, we don’t like the lessons we have to learn. Letting go is the hardest lesson of all. Conor may have disliked the monster for a long time, but it is because he represented a scary notion on loss and courage. I totally understand how monstrous loss can be. So, yes, it’s up there.

 1. This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

In the vein of Not a Drop To Drink, I have to say the most terrifying creatures I had encountered have to be humans. Cruel, impulsive, and sometimes calculating, impassive at times, there are too many people who are very much like Kate Harker and her father. The monsters are not always the most physically intimidating creatures. It’s the ones who choose to be monstrous with metal nails installed.

 

    For this week's Top 5 Wednesday, the prompt mentions things that irk us
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Top 5 Wednesday: Top 5 Eerie Books

Welcome to another Top 5 Wednesday! Here is a link to the Goodreads group for topics and more information. Let me start off this post with a warning: I don’t do scary. At all. So, for this Top 5 Wednesday, I’m talking about eerie things.

5. Young Goodman Brown by Nathaniel Hawthorne

I don’t have a copy of this story anymore, but man, I was so fascinated by it when I did read it. Um, young Goodman Brown was a good man and he was very faithful to his religion. Then, things go awry. Dude, Nathaniel Hawthorne doesn’t like it when people deviate from their faith. I mean, it’s admirable and all, but something about the lengths to which he goes that gets a little overboard. Still. I remember how eerie this one was. Even now.

4. The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe

The first time I was reading this poem, I’d found out about the Simpsons’ performance of this piece. I have loved it ever since. Edgar Allan Poe is kind of very medicated, so his horror pieces always felt extra strange to me. But, the ones about love and loss are always not scary because of supernatural things, and more because of the emotional impact.

3. The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux

In my head, I always imagine the dark, vast opera where this story is set. Much like The Raven, this story troubled me with the setting and the loss featured throughout the tale. No, I am not too keen on watching musicals, though. Nor do I have a copy of this story. It’s too sad for me to actually reread again.

2. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner

My heart will always remember this story. Quentin is one of my favorite names of all time. Sometimes, I miss the images these siblings share in their respective chapters. But, there is a certain brother that I hate(d).

 1. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

There are moments where I feel rage toward this book, because of the whole “Byronic hero” thing. To me, it always felt like a literal racial implied message hidden in there. But, maybe I am just being overly critical. It’s still one of the most eerie stories I had ever read. And, I love it so much.

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Top 5 Wednesday: Top 5 Witches in My Read Pile

Hello! As we are in the spirit of Halloween, the Top 5 Wednesday Goodreads group‘s topic for this week is WITCHES. I’m not as excited as you think. On the contrary, I am way more thrilled by this topic.

5. The Crucible by Arthur Miller

So, when I read this play, I was maybe fourteen and in high school. While most people had some chill, I didn’t. I remember being so ANGRY at these girls in the play. But, the funny thing is: we read it and analyzed it for class in high school, and I still remember that rage. What’s fascinating to me is that there is no exact “witch” here, but it’s like, “Are you sure? For real, for real?” Because, for me? I’m not sure who really is a witch and who isn’t in this play.

I love that blurred distinction.

4. Macbeth by William Shakespeare

The way those three witches showed up in the beginning of the play is one of the most memorable entrances ever. To me, they drove a nice haunting tone home to audiences–no mater the medium. Pun somewhat intended. Macbeth is like one of my most dear reading experiences ever. Witches play a role in that fact.

3. Beautiful Creatures by Margaret Stohl and Kami Garcia

They’re called “Castors” here, but my goodness, they are so freaking cool. And, also, there is a witch (like for real witch) and she is capable and central to the story.

2. Bloodlines by Richelle Mead

Uh. It’s obviously a spoiler for me to reveal who becomes a witch and/or who is already a witch in this series. But, just so you know, this person is AWESOME. I’ll never fully recover from the surprise of seeing said character transforming throughout the series into a powerful witch.

 

 1.  When the Moon Was Ours by Anna Marie McLemore

Kind of a major throw-back to Shakespearean witches, coupled with the uncertainty of their nature from The Crucible, I adore how mysterious these sisters were. I’m in love with how complicated they were up close.

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Top 5 Wednesday: Top 5 Fancasts I Love

Hello there! This week’s Top 5 Wednesday speaks to me on an emotional level. Naturally, I had to join this week. Top 5 Fancasts that I love and enjoy! Let’s do this.

5. Nina Zenik from Six of Crows

I know this is an overused one (at least on the Internet, it is rather common), but: Barbie Ferrera is the perfect Nina. She has such a sassy personality, and she genuinely exudes vibes of confidence and a touch of humor.

4. (young) Bellatrix Lestrange from the Harry Potter series

Even though my status now is a Hufflepuff, I still find Slytherin really interesting and underdeveloped. I wish there was more of Bellatrix pre-Azkaban. I like this fan-video of her with Voldemort. She’s played by the awesome Kiera Knightley, whose name I can never spell correctly.

3. Cassel from White Cat

There’s not much buzz about this trilogy, but I remember watching this video early on and finding Cassel to be on par with who I imagined him to be.

2. Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games

I am basically pro-anyone who is a person of color playing Katniss, because that’s her description in the novels anyway. A lot of people were relieved to see Jennifer Lawrence play her. Not me. And, I don’t mean this in a hipster way at all, seriously, because I understand that she’s a good actress. Anyway, this lady here (at least in the graphic) looks like a better fit for Katniss. Hopefully, they wouldn’t bleach Peeta’s hair in that reboot of my dreams.

 1. Joseph Kavinsky from The Dream Thieves

LISTEN. I am not sure why this dude was so fascinating to me, but he was. So, I went to search for fanvids of him. This one is my favorite, and I show it to all my friends who would appreciate it. Tell me this is not a Kavinsky fanvid.

Your Turn:

If you are into fanvids by any chance, link your favorite ones for me to check out! I love seeing characters move and interact.

    For this week's Top 5 Wednesday, the prompt mentions things that irk us
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Top 5 Wednesday: Top 5 Books I Want To Read Sans Synopsis

Welcome to another Top 5 Wednesday. This is a meme based on topics posted on a wonderful Goodreads group. Every week, we get fun prompts to help us come up with a list of book-related items. Today, I am talking about my top 5 books that I plan to read with no synopsis. Let’s begin.

5. Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

I know so little about this series of books (is it a trilogy? I know book 3 was postponed). Something about space and artificial intelligence are somehow related to the story, but the characters change from the first two books. Other than that, I do not know much, and I certainly like it better that way. It is pretty hyped, but I am going in blind.

4. Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

Friendships that rule! And, something about witches that can tell that truth all the time or perhaps they can discern when someone is being honest? Another really hyped story right here, and I am very excited to join fandoms and flail with everyone, but, in order to do that, I am not learning more than this about the synopsis.

3. Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

Emma Watson wanted to play the main character from this series in an adaptation of it. A queen is involved. Also: I got the first two books in the ugly paperback editions with the final one as a beautiful hardcover. I would love to keep up the ignorance I have in regards to the synopsis.

2. Gail Carriger’s Soulless (and following series, spin offs)

Yes, I know that I have been mentioning Carriger quite a bit lately, but the truth is I am so curious about her work (and have gathered a lot of it). So, all I know about this series is that it is steampunk and involves vampires, werewolves and some other species I am not really sure about. To me, the covers are intriguing and the author seems fascinating to me (and inspiring).

 1. Brandon Sanderson’s stuff (except for Alcatraz books and Rithmatist)

Basically, I have been gathering Sanderson’s stuff for a while (I have stopped for now, so I don’t have Rithmatist or Alcatraz books). Lots of ground to cover, and I don’t really know much about the stories. What’s interesting was that nothing can prepare me for how this man writes. He creates these complex and real worlds, with complicated character relationships. And, I say this after reading just one book: I don’t need a synopsis for his work.

Your Turn:

If you have any books or writers you’d recommend for me to read (without checking out the synopsis), please share them in the comment section. I’d love to discover new authors (new to me, or debut authors, too). Have a  bad-ass Wednesday!

 

    For this week's Top 5 Wednesday, the prompt mentions things that irk us
    As we bid November adieu, I am following the prompt for Top 5
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Top 5 Wednesday: Top 5 Classes to Take with YA Characters

Hello! It is time for another Top 5 Wednesday. This is a group in Goodreads, where we get weekly topics for us to list books in relation to the prompt. This week, we are talking about the Top 5 Classes To Take with YA Characters. I’m so excited about this one. Let’s begin.

5. Tactical Maneuvers with (Queen) Elisa (Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson)

The more I think of the first book in this trilogy, the more impressed of Elisa I become. This young girl knows her people’s history, faith, and politics so well. Being in her head can be frustrating because I tend to feel overwhelmed by her her process. However, the more I put myself in her shoes, the more I understand why she takes her time in deciding what needs to be done next on her journey to the throne.

4. Tricks and Thievery with the Dregs (Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo)

An intensive course with multiple instructors, this experience will change your life. I’m not sure if you’ll function the same ever again once you witness Inej explain acrobats and shadowing in relation to thievery. She can teach a whole history seminar on her origins and culture. Likewise, Nina can do an exploration of the Ravkan culture and history.

Meanwhile, Matthias can offer an alternate point of view on Ravkan culture in relation to his own background. I mean, he can also talk about physical strength, but I feel like he can do an extremely impressive class on the wrongness of his training and the injustices toward Ravkan culture.
Kaz Brekker will try to teach a few tips on how to scheme. Jasper discusses basic pistol fighting tips. Wylan demonstrates demolition tips with high notes of musical genius.

3. Rune Drawing with Clary Fairchild (The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare)

Clary’s still as a rune-creator can translate beautifully to a mundane (or downworlder) audience. Even better, she can introduce her techniques for using steeles to create such perfect runes.

Also: I want a whole class where Clary and Simon introduce basics of band-naming.

2. Piracy and (Dirty) Fighting/Dueling with Alucard Emery and Delilah Bard (A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab)

Um, it’d be hard to follow along, I admit, but it is still worth attending! Alucard and Lila have a lot of banter while fighting/practicing magic. They can discuss tips for magic use in duels. In addition, a nice long list of tips for new pirates (and thieves) would be really lovely.

 1. Story-telling and Stalling with Shahrazad (Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh)

Well…she’d be really good at it. If you’ve read my post from yesterday, you’d have gathered that I am frustrated with this duology (Have yet to read the second part of the series). Shahrazad is a good story-teller. Long-winded, but sometimes, that’s necessary.

    For this week's Top 5 Wednesday, the prompt mentions things that irk us
    As we bid November adieu, I am following the prompt for Top 5
    Welcome to Top 5 Wednesday, a meme based on a Goodreads group. In