Being brutally honest about books

Showing posts with label meme. Show all posts
Showing posts with label meme. Show all posts

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Top 10 Historical Books I've Read So Far in 2017

Top Ten Tuesday is an awesome meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's theme is Best Books You've Read In 2017 So Far. You can break it down into a specific category, so I chose historical books because I've read so many this year (and in general tbh). In my list I'm including fiction, non-fiction, books set in the present/alternate present that deal with history, and a contemporary set in the past 25 years. *sighs* I love history so much.

Covers link to Goodreads.

The Amazons: Lives and Legends of Warrior Women Across the Ancient World by
Goddess by

Gladiatrix series by

Here Comes the Sun by

Radio Girls by
Shaken to the Core by

Cranky Ladies of History by various authors

The Conqueror's Wife: A Novel of Alexander the Great by

The Great Library series by

18456025  and  27833741
Tied for 10th place is Just One Damned Thing After Another (The Chronicles of St Mary's #1) by New Pompeii (New Pompeii #1) by

Have you read any of these? Who are your favourite authors of historical books? And what historical books do you always recommend?

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

10 Things I Need More of in Books

Top Ten Tuesday is an awesome meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's theme is Ten Things On Our Reading Wishlist - things you want to see more of in books ie. tropes, a time period, a specific type of character, an issue tackled, a certain plot, etc.

1. Main characters who stay single for the entire book/series

I want to see main characters who are aromantic, main characters who don't want a partner at this time, have sworn off love, aren't good with the ladies (or whatever gender/s they may prefer) or don't have time because they're too busy saving the world. It can be done. Really. I just need to see a single single character!

2. Bechdel Test passes

For those who don't know, it tests whether a fictional work includes (at least) two female characters who have a conversation about something that is not a male character. You'd think it would be pretty easy to pass the test, but I've read a surprising number of supposedly feminist books that don't.

3. Queer women characters whose identities are irrelevant to the plot

Let them be queer just because they can be, and then let them get on with it because, being book characters, they have work to do. Like saving the world.

4. Hate-love relationships

I live on that tension when two characters in the same room don't know if they want to fight or fuck each other. Mm yes. Build that tension as high as it can go. Tease me. 

5. Bisexual characters

Especially bi male characters. They aren't unicorns, y'know. Enough said.

6. Russia

It's one of my new favourite settings, and it's so cool! (Pun not intended.) I want to read more books set in Russia, by Russian authors. I don't want to read any more books about aristocrats during or after the Revolution, though - if I read books set in that era, I want to read about normal people.

7. Lesser known badass historical women

Hypatia, anyone? Or Empress Matilda? Vasilisa Kozhina? Khutulun? You guys know how I love my historical fiction, and I'd like to see more obscure figures portrayed in books. 
Vasilisa Kozhina

8. Flawed & morally grey main characters

It's wonderful to come across a character that you'd hate in real life but you love in the book. These characters are complex and realistic, and it's much easier to relate to someone who has flaws than to a perfect angel who can do no wrong.

9. Close & healthy sibling & cousin relationships

Obviously I couldn't relate to the sibling relationships as I want to kill my sister 103%* of the time, but I'd like to see more familial love and family going on quests together. In some cases they would complain and fight the whole time, but in others they'd work well together and get the job done ASAP, with some great dialogue on the side.
* That's a joke. It's 96% of the time.

10. Boats

I was going to say ships, but I didn't want to be misinterpreted, LOL. Anyway, I want more books set on boats! Pirate and Waterworld-type scenarios especially. Boats are amazing. I want to read about smallish groups of people surviving together on boats. 
By Lance Woodworth - originally posted to Flickr as Niagra Cannons, CC BY 2.0,

What are 10 things on your reading wishlist? Do you agree with any of these? Alternatively, what are you sick of seeing in books? (I, personally, am sick of contemporaries.)

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

10 Things That Make Me Avoid a Book Like the Plague

Top Ten Tuesday is an awesome meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's theme is Top Ten Things That Will Make Me Instantly NOT Want To Read A Book. It's time to bring out the salt, so sit tight.

1. It has only positive reviews.

Not every book is for everyone, and if everyone else loved the book, chances are I'm going to be that one person that doesn't. If it only has negative reviews, I won't read it either.

2. It has a low average rating.

If the average rating on Goodreads is less than 3.5, I'm not likely to read it. Sometimes I disagree with the average rating, but it can be a good indicator of a book's quality.

3. It's dystopian.

Nope nope nope. I've had enough of this genre to last a lifetime.

4. It's paranormal.

I've read and enjoyed some paranormal books, but not enough to like it as a genre. No werewolves, vampires, or any of that for me, thanks.

5. The blurb mentions a male character the female protagonist's age that she's not related to.

Because I know how it's going to go, and I've had enough.

6. The blurb mentions a "passionate" or "epic" romance.

Not interested.

7. "Star-crossed lovers".

I don't mind romances if they actually are doomed to fail, but usually relationships that are labelled "star-crossed" get a happy ending. False advertising.

8. "I'm not like other girls."

Yes, you are. You're just like 75% of the girls reading this book. Shut up.

9. Protagonist's life changes when she meets a boy.

Do I even need to explain this one? Just no. It's not all about men.

10. Any or all female characters are either pure or immoral, nice or mean, with no in-between.

I need my women more complex than that. Women are people, and people are flawed and complicated, not just black and white, and I'm not going to able to relate to your characters if they're not fleshed out. No-one is 100% good or evil. Do you want to be accused of misogyny?

What instantly turns you off a book? Are there tropes or genres you avoid like the plague? Are there exceptions to the rule?

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Top 10 Most Unique Classics I've Read

Top Ten Tuesday is an awesome meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's theme is Top Ten Of The Most Unique Books I've Read. I decided to go with classics because there are some wonderful old books out there that get overlooked in the blogging community.

Click the covers to go to the Goodreads links.
War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
How many 1000+ page Russian novels that are set during the Napoleonic Wars and have such fantastic characters are there?
The Iliad - Homer
It's such an old book, it would be disappointing if it wasn't unique.
The Hunchback of Notre-Dame - Victor Hugo
It's so dark I can't believe they made a Disney movie out of this. Lots of architecture in this one.
The Lost World - Arthur Conan Doyle
Dinosaurs in the early 19th Century! Also the guy doesn't get the girl and it's for a pretty hilarious reason.
The War of the Worlds - HG Wells
One of the first stories about an alien invasion in London. (Why is it always London? Looking at you, Doctor Who writers. Are the rest of us not worth it?)
The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald
A short novel about horrible people in 1920s New York. Cool.
The Phantom of the Opera -

The Color Purple - Alice Walker
A very important novel that I appreciated more as I studied it than when I was reading it. If you're a woman you should probably read this book.
One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel García Márquez
Happy families in South America. So many generations pass. I also vaguely remember there not being any chapter breaks.
The Hitch-hiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
Like Doctor Who but even weirder, which is certainly an achievement.

What are the best or most unique classics you've read? Do you enjoy old books? Do you prefer to read classic lit or newer books?

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Top 5 Writers That Were New to Me in 2016

Top Ten Tuesday is an awesome meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's theme is Top Ten New-To-Me Authors I Read For The First Time In 2016 but I don't have a top ten because I haven't read enough books this year. So here are my top five.

1. Leo Tolstoy

What I love about his writing: It makes you think you will never be as wise or as observant as an old Russian man from the 19th Century. He knows everything about all kinds of people.

My review of War and Peace

2. Sappho

What I love about her writing: It says so much in just a few words, even though all that remains is small fragments. Her imagery is just delicious.

My post about Sappho

3. Sarah Waters

What I love about her writing: It's descriptive and the characterisation is on point. You feel you are the protagonist.


4. Shamim Sarif

What I love about her writing: It tears out your heart and you wonder what did you do to deserve this pain?


5. Kapka Kassabova

What I love about her writing: It's realistic and bittersweet - there's no glossing over the truth.

My review of Love in the Land of Midas

Have you read these writers? What are your opinions of them? Who are your top new-to-you writers this year?

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Stacking the Shelves: Library Haul

Stacking the Shelves 
 Stacking The Shelves is a meme created by Tynga’s Reviews. The following links go to Goodreads.

I went for a walk because today was lovely and sunny and I hadn't left the house in a week, so I was getting cabin fever. I felt like going to the library, because while I've been good lately at reading the books already on my shelf, the remaining ones didn't inspire me. So I walked to the local public library, which I hadn't been to in a very long time (possibly since March or February, can you believe it?). I expected to get some books on my ginormous TBR list, but alas, I didn't (in fact I only found one of the books on my TBR at the library). Isn't it always the case?

Enchantments by Kathryn Harrison

I picked up this one for the cover, and borrowed it for the history. I don't have high expectations for the quality of the book (the average rating on Goodreads is only 3.21); I'll be reading it for the history and Russian-ness alone.

St. Petersburg, 1917. After Rasputin’s body is pulled from the icy waters of the Neva River, his eighteen-year-old daughter, Masha, is sent to live at the imperial palace with Tsar Nikolay and his family—including the headstrong Prince Alyosha. Desperately hoping that Masha has inherited Rasputin’s miraculous healing powers, Tsarina Alexandra asks her to tend to Aloysha, who suffers from hemophilia, a blood disease that keeps the boy confined to his sickbed, lest a simple scrape or bump prove fatal.

Two months after Masha arrives at the palace, the tsar is forced to abdicate, and Bolsheviks place the royal family under house arrest. As Russia descends into civil war, Masha and Alyosha grieve the loss of their former lives, finding solace in each other’s company. To escape the confinement of the palace, they tell stories—some embellished and some entirely imagined—about Nikolay and Alexandra’s courtship, Rasputin’s many exploits, and the wild and wonderful country on the brink of an irrevocable transformation. In the worlds of their imagination, the weak become strong, legend becomes fact, and a future that will never come to pass feels close at hand.

The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters

I have some other Sarah Waters books on my TBR since I read and loved Tipping the Velvet earlier this month. So I knew the chances of me enjoying this one were pretty high. I don't really know anything about 1920s London (1920s New York, yes), so this will be interesting.

It is 1922, and London is tense. Ex-servicemen are disillusioned, the out-of-work and the hungry are demanding change. And in South London, in a genteel Camberwell villa, a large silent house now bereft of brothers, husband and even servants, life is about to be transformed, as impoverished widow Mrs Wray and her spinster daughter, Frances, are obliged to take in lodgers.

For with the arrival of Lilian and Leonard Barber, a modern young couple of the 'clerk class', the routines of the house will be shaken up in unexpected ways. And as passions mount and frustration gathers, no one can foresee just how far-reaching, and how devastating, the disturbances will be.

Ancients by David Lynn Golemon

I love ancient mythology (especially Greek) so this book had me at "Ancients" and "Atlantis". My sister took one look at it and asked if it's about Stargate. It's not, but it looks very similar. It also looks exciting, but guess what? I just discovered it's the 3rd in a series! I just hope that it can be a standalone as well.

The lost city of Atlantis is the stuff of legend. A vast treasure of secret knowledge and unimaginable wealth. An entire civilisation that disappeared for unknown reasons, forgotten in the mists of time. But now, battle lines are being drawn to claim the immense power which once resided there.

On one side, led by Colonel Jack Collins, is the Event Group - a top secret government organisation made of the most brilliant soldiers, scientists and historians on earth, all dedicated to discovering the truth behind the world's greatest unsolved myths. They must take down a shadowy conspiracy of men fuelled by hatred who want to unleash a weapon which could change life as we know it forever...

These are all fairly different books, although they all have elements of history. Is anyone surprised by that? I'm not. 

These also aren't small, read-in-a-day books, but I have until 9th January to read them, so I should get through them. Better start now...

Have you read any of these? Do you often borrow or buy a book only to find it's the middle of a series? What books have you bought or borrowed this week?

I'm Alexandria, a 19-year-old reader/writer/blogger from New Zealand. I love language, history, and sci-fi. Hi! I'm always around if you want to talk, which you can do via comments, the contact form, or Facebook.

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