Top 10 Tuesday: 10 Favorite Books Quotes

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Top 10 Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. You can find the prompts here.

The team over at The Broke and the Bookish is on hiatus until 7 March, taking a well earned rest after providing us with these prompts for almost seven years! As there’s no official prompt for this week, I decided to go back and do one that I hadn’t had the chance to do when it was new.

There are some lines in books that mean so much when I read them that I have to sit and stare at the wall for a moment. Some are so funny that I have to put my book down and roll about for a bit before I can read again. Whatever my reaction, I’m sharing with you this week my (current) top 10 favorite quotes from books.

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Oh, well, thanks an awful lot, Thomas, Myfanwy thought bitterly. It sounds like I’m the Defense Minister of Ghosts and Goblins, but as long as the job is “all fairly self-explanatory,” I’ve no doubt it will be fine. The country might get overrun by brownies and talking trees, but what the hell — there’s always Australia!”

– Daniel O’Malley, The Rook

 

“Yes, Minister, it turns out that there was a mysterious force that caused that plane to crash. We call it gravity.”

– Daniel O’Malley, The Rook

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“Kaz leaned back. “What’s the easiest way to steal a man’s wallet?”
“Knife to the throat?” asked Inej.
“Gun to the back?” said Jesper.
“Poison in his cup?” suggested Nina.
“You’re all horrible,” said Matthias.”

– Leigh Bardugo, Six of Crows

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“A philosopher once asked, “Are we human because we gaze at the stars, or do we gaze at them because we are human?” Pointless, really…”Do the stars gaze back?” Now, that’s a question.”

– Neil Gaiman, Stardust

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“My name is Celaena Sardothien. But it makes no difference if my name’s Celaena or Lillian or Bitch, because I’d still beat you, no matter what you call me.”

– Sarah J. Maas, Throne of Glass

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“Isn’t that what stories do, make real things fake, and fake things real?”

– Marie Rutkoski, The Winner’s Curse

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“For a few moments I want to be 5 years old again. I want someone to plunk me down in front of a Disney movie and ask me if I want apple juice or grape.”

– Jennifer Richard Jacobson, Paper Things

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“Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book.”

– John Green, The Fault in Our Stars

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“I solemnly swear that I am up to no good.”

– J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

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“Crappy mall food cures everything.”

– Tamara Ireland Stone, Every Last Word

 

All pictures, quotes, and videos belong to their respective owners. I use them here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.
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Review: Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller

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Amazon  –  Barnes & Noble  –  Goodreads

Author’s Website

A 17-year-old pirate captain intentionally allows herself to get captured by enemy pirates in this thrilling YA adventure.

Sent on a mission to retrieve an ancient hidden map—the key to a legendary treasure trove—seventeen-year-old pirate captain Alosa deliberately allows herself to be captured by her enemies, giving her the perfect opportunity to search their ship.

More than a match for the ruthless pirate crew, Alosa has only one thing standing between her and the map: her captor, the unexpectedly clever and unfairly attractive first mate, Riden. But not to worry, for Alosa has a few tricks up her sleeve, and no lone pirate can stop the Daughter of the Pirate King.

Debut author Tricia Levenseller blends action, adventure, romance, and a little bit of magic into a thrilling YA pirate tale.

Rating: 2 Stars

Pirate novels are coming back onto the market and I find that really cool. Pirate movies are always a lot of fun to watch, what with all of that swashbuckling action, but I haven’t read as many novels like that. Getting to now is a fun escape into a bygone era.

I like the idea of a female led pirate crew, especially one that’s got an dueling set of morals. There’s a certain set of morals that belong to pirates, but in novels female pirates tend to mix them with their own brand of ideals. We didn’t get too much of this, however, because Alosa spends most of the book being the prisoner of a rival pirate, which is all part of her and her father’s plan. Of the glimpses we did get of Alosa and her crew I saw some good interplay between her and those crew members.

Alosa herself wasn’t particularly likable. It seems as though she’s set up to be a strong female lead. She’s constantly telling us through inner monologue that she’s so strong, that she can fight three men at once and not break a sweat. She’s the only one that’s ever been trained by the Pirate King, after all, and that’s makes her a bad-ass (my own words, there).

However, she also acts the part of a petulant child more than once during her captivity and that infuriates me. Her constant bragging sounded like just that, bragging. It sounded like the boasting of someone that never expects to have to prove it and is assuring themselves that, even though they’re having their ass handed to them, they could get out of it if they really wanted to.

There was also the fact of her acting as though the most unimportant things mattered. For someone that’s meant to be strong and resilient, she was entirely too full of herself regarding her appearance. There were several comments made about how much attachment she had to her clothes and how she spent much of her gold on face paint. The scene that finally frustrated me was when Draxen, the captain who has Alosa captive, threatens to cut off her hair. Considering he could hand her off to his chief torturer or have another pirate assault her, losing her hair seems the much better option, but rather than face that, the text says,

“he seems not to understand the value a woman’s hair has to her.”

When it’s held up against your life? I should think it would mean a great deal less. That was the moment when I truly lost interest in Alosa and couldn’t understand why she was so special.

Spoiler Alert!

As if all this special snowflake behavior wasn’t enough, about halfway through the novel Alosa has yet another unique trait thrown about her character: she’s half siren! What joys, she’s even more special now, with the ability to spell men with her song and see colors about them that tell her their feelings and read their intentions.

End Spoiler Alert!

The character of Alosa was heaped with too many special characteristics and no real weaknesses. She was set up as an idol that made me dislike her the more I read about her.

I am ambivalent about the ending. It didn’t resolve enough to make the reading worth it and, having been so annoyed by the characters, I’m not sure that I care enough to read the second book if or when it comes out to find out what the conclusion of the massive treasure hunt is. The writing didn’t wow me enough to make me eagerly anticipate the next move of anyone, nor did it engage me enough to enjoy a slow burn of action.

The plot of the novel was really interesting and it had the potential to be really intriguing, but it felt like it got bogged down too much by Alosa and Riden’s weird relationship and Alosa’s flawed character. It took what could have been a truly great adventure story and turned it into an afternoon movie special that didn’t hold my interest past the first third of the book. I think this will be one where I’ll wait for a summary or spoiler filled review of any potential sequels rather than read them myself. There are too many other books on the horizon, begging to be read.

 

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

All pictures, quotes, and videos belong to their respective owners. I use them here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

The NYT By the Book Book Tag

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The New York Times ‘By the Book’ Book Tag was created by Marie Berg on YouTube and I saw it done by Hilary on Songs Wrote My Story. Hilary was kind enough to tag anyone that wanted to do the tag; it sounded like fun so I thought I’d give it a go!

What book is on your nightstand now?

I have to be honest, when I went to type nightstand, I mistakenly wrote bookstand first. It’s much more accurate because there are about twenty different books on my nightstand at the moment and I don’t think I can fit all of them here. I selected these three because they’re closest to the top: For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow is Enuf by Ntozake Shange, History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera, and Heartless by Marissa Meyer.

What was the last truly great book you read?

I’ve got two for this question and for two different reasons: Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson was a truly great book for an engaging, fast read that I gobbled up. The Search for Aveline by Stephanie Rabig and Angie Bee was a truly great book for a slow enjoyment that I took my time with because I didn’t want it to end.

If you could meet any writer – dead or alive – who would it be? And what would you want to know?

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Terry Pratchett! He’s the creator of Discworld, a series of over 40 books that was began in 1983 and completed in 2014/15 (The Shepherd’s Crown was completed in 2014 and published posthumously in 2015).

As for what I’d ask him, I don’t think there’s anything in particular I’d want to know. I’d hope we could just chat about his work and from there I’m sure questions would pop up. I usually think of questions in the moment.

What books might we be surprised to find on your shelf?

I read a pretty wide variety of books, so I don’t think there are any that would be too strange to find on my shelf. I think the biggest “surprises” would probably be the non-fiction books because I tend to read more fiction than anything else. Books like A Gentle Madness by Nicholas A. Basbanes or The Anatomy of Bibliomania by Holbrook Jackson are some examples of the non-fiction you’ll find on my shelves: even when it’s not fiction, it’s still book related!

How do you organize your personal library?

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In theory it’s organized thus: all comic books or manga are organized alphabetically by title because with the manga I’m not 100% which is the proper last name, and with comic books I’m not sure whether to go by author or artist. All other books (fiction or non-fiction) are organized alphabetically by the author’s last name. Within a single author’s work, it’s organized chronologically by the publishing year (and all books within a series follow their first book, never separated).

I, however, ran out of bookshelf space ages ago, so there are actually teetering piles on tables all over the house that have no order to them, kind of like the mess being created in the gif above!

What book have you always meant to read and haven’t gotten around to yet?

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Oh, we’re being serious? That list is, how shall I put this, quite a bit longer than I’d care to admit. My Goodreads TBR shelf is standing at 1,192 books as of writing this. If I had to narrow it down, really had to make a choice or I’d never be able to read again, I guess I’d have to say the rest of the Thursday Next series by Jasper Fforde. I’ve had to books for ages, but I’ve never gotten around to catching up and my best friend is always asking about them.

Disappointed, overrated, just not good: what book did you feel you were supposed to like, but didn’t?

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I have a somewhat complicated relationship with this story. I was first introduced to it when the movie was released and I went to see it by myself. In 2005, I apparently had not hit my stride for British humor yet because I ended up hating it. Fast forward several years, I decided to give it another chance for some reason and I end up loving it. Thankfully, because it really is a lot of fun and Martin Freeman as Arthur Dent is a treasure.

I wanted to finally read the book last year and did so because a) my job allowed me to take advantage of my Audible subscription and b) Stephen Fry narrates the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy audiobook (did you know he was the voice of the Guide in the movie?).

I have to say that I was disappointed by the book. I enjoyed most of it, say 75% or so, but then things just got so bogged down and boring. I couldn’t believe this was the same story, regardless of being different mediums. Zaphod Beeblebrox really needs to be on film to be brought to life, I think, because on “page” he wasn’t as funny as he was in the film.

What kind of stories are you drawn to? Any you stay clear of?

I tend to read stories that are fantasy or science fiction (such as Saga or The Night Circus) or books that feature characters that I can related to (like Cath in Fangirl).

I try to stay away from books in which there’s graphic violence toward animals. It’s simply not something I can stomach and I can’t imagine how the author could have written it. I don’t have any examples, thankfully, so let’s hope my record of avoiding that will keep going for awhile longer.

If you could require the President to read one book, what would it be?

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Are you sure I can’t just lock in him a library for the next four years?

Well, if you’re sure, then I’d say A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith. It’s the story of first generation Americans that bring up their children in poverty, always with the mindset that education and hard work will help you get ahead in life. There are setbacks and always the stark reality that there is never enough money for what they want much less what they need, oftentimes not even enough for food. I think reading about this experience might be eye opening for the person we’re talking about here.

What do you plan to read next?

Remember that Goodreads TBR I mentioned earlier? Yeah, it’s not getting too much smaller any time soon because there are so many interesting sounding books coming out soon! Some of the ones I’m looking forward to the most are: The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco, Perfect (Flawed #2) by Cecelia Ahern, and Definitions of Indefinable Things by Whitney Taylor.

I tag…

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Everyone who wants to do it, but in particular Liv from Curlyhairbibliophile, Cait from PaperFury, and Krysti from YAandWine.

 

 

 

All pictures, quotes, and videos belong to their respective owners. I use them here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

Review: 32 Yolks by Eric Ripert w/ Veronica Chambers

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Amazon  –  Audible  –  Barnes & Noble  –  Goodreads

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Hailed by Anthony Bourdain as “heartbreaking, horrifying, poignant, and inspiring,” 32 Yolks is the brave and affecting coming-of-age story about the making of a French chef, from the culinary icon behind the renowned New York City restaurant Le Bernardin.

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY NPR

In an industry where celebrity chefs are known as much for their salty talk and quick tempers as their food, Eric Ripert stands out. The winner of four James Beard Awards, co-owner and chef of a world-renowned restaurant, and recipient of countless Michelin stars, Ripert embodies elegance and culinary perfection. But before the accolades, before he even knew how to make a proper hollandaise sauce, Eric Ripert was a lonely young boy in the south of France whose life was falling apart.

Ripert’s parents divorced when he was six, separating him from the father he idolized and replacing him with a cold, bullying stepfather who insisted that Ripert be sent away to boarding school. A few years later, Ripert’s father died on a hiking trip. Through these tough times, the one thing that gave Ripert comfort was food. Told that boys had no place in the kitchen, Ripert would instead watch from the doorway as his mother rolled couscous by hand or his grandmother pressed out the buttery dough for the treat he loved above all others, tarte aux pommes. When an eccentric local chef took him under his wing, an eleven-year-old Ripert realized that food was more than just an escape: It was his calling. That passion would carry him through the drudgery of culinary school and into the high-pressure world of Paris’s most elite restaurants, where Ripert discovered that learning to cook was the easy part—surviving the line was the battle.

Taking us from Eric Ripert’s childhood in the south of France and the mountains of Andorra into the demanding kitchens of such legendary Parisian chefs as Joël Robuchon and Dominique Bouchet, until, at the age of twenty-four, Ripert made his way to the United States, 32 Yolks is the tender and richly told story of how one of our greatest living chefs found himself—and his home—in the kitchen.

Rating: 4 Stars

Having long been fascinated with food and the culinary world, even though I myself am no more a part of it than a consumer, when I saw the opportunity to listen to an insider’s personal story, I was intrigued. For the past several years, chefs have been gaining more of a celebrity status and some even have something approaching a cult status among their fans. Being up on a pedestal like that is all well and good, but to be reminded that they are indeed human like the rest of us.

Eric Ripert’s story was something of a journey that had sadness in the past that shows he did not have things handed to him. He struggled and surmounted many challenges, such as a stepfather that was rather detestable and losing his own father at a young age. Food was his solace and the descriptions of the dishes he watched his family prepare and was able to take part in sounded like heaven.

The narrator, Peter Ganim, was cast very well to bring Eric’s story to the auditory “page”. It’s the most important thing to take into consideration when producing an audiobook: how good is your narrator? If you have the wrong one, there is no chance that the story will be successful, no matter what happened in the physical book. The two experiences become separate things entirely. I have been burned in the past and was pleased that this was a good experience for a change.

While I was listening to the story of this chef and learning about what it took for him to become the man that starts his own restaurant in America, I looked it up (Le Bernardin in New York City) and was amazed. This place is the epitome of elegance and, while probably not a place I’ll be able to afford in the near future, it certainly has earned as spot on my bucket list of places to visit.

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It has the largest, finest seafood menu I’ve seen, ranging from caviar to snapper, tuna to geoduck, and onward. There’s also quite a few delicious meat dishes, such as rack of lamb, squab, and filet mignon. *

*All of these dishes were available at the time I checked the dining room’s dinner menu 2/23/2017.

To sum up, this book takes a look at the life of a chef that is far from perfect. He isn’t a perfect idol that one might think upon looking at some of the divine creations he can prepare. He’s a flesh and blood human that pulled himself through some rather tough times, including a somewhat abusive step parent, and the kitchens of other chefs, learning what he could. He absorbed this world and turned it into his own creation, earning accolades that mark him as a chef and someone to watch as his quality continues. Will he continue on this rise? Time will tell and I can only hope that someday we will hear more about his time in America, perhaps more in-depth material about La Bernardin.

I received a copy of this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

 All pictures, quotes, and videos belong to their respective owners. I use them here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

Blog Tour: Pillow Thoughts by Courtney Peppernell

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Amazon  –  Barnes & Noble  –  Book Depository  –  Chapters  –  Goodreads

Pillow Thoughts is a collection of poetry and prose about heartbreak, love and raw emotions.
It is divided into sections to read when you feel you need them most.
Make a cup of tea and let yourself feel.

Rating: 4 Stars

A very hearty thank you to The Royal Polar Bear Reads for hosting this blog tour. You can visit their blog at the previous link and on Twitter here.

This seems to have been the year for poetry books coming back into my life and Pillow Thoughts was certainly a good choice to be among the first. There are separate “chapters” for different emotions or situations, ranging from “If You Are Dreaming of Someone” to “These Are For You”.

The style of poetry within Pillow Thoughts ranges a bit. Some of the poems are titled and have form while others feel much more free verse. Sometimes the transition between styles was a bit odd for me, particularly the non-titled parts because I couldn’t tell for sure whether some of them were meant to be part of the previous work or were individual pieces themselves.

Some of these sections were difficult for me to read; not because the content was bad, but because the emotions they elicited were so raw that I felt myself needing a moment. Rarely do I have such a visceral reaction to books and finding it in a book of poetry was meaningful because I didn’t think it was a genre that had anything for me anymore.

Each section is written so that you are able to read them on their own, perfect for the day when you need to feel a kinship with someone who’s also suffering heartbreak, or maybe when you’re feeling high on love and want to revel in it. The most poignant section for me was the one entitled “Reasons to Stay”. This is filled with words that I wish I’d had in some of my darker times because, reading them now, I don’t know how much they would have helped, but they feel like the right words. They’re words that don’t profess to have all the answers, but they want to act as a helping hand. They’re there for you when you need them, if you feel like there’s nothing else to hold onto, there are these guided words that might convince you to stay. Maybe they won’t work for everyone, but for every day they convince you to push through, that’s one more day you might find the reason.

As an overall collection Pillow Thoughts is filled with more emotions that I think I could handle in one sitting, so while it is a poetry book and thus you might think an easy read, I’d say let the book speak to you. Pick a section and process it one at a time because you need it or because you want to understand something. Courtney Peppernell really got to the core of these feelings/states of being and illustrated it well with jellyfish illustrations between each “chapter”: nearly intangible things that still have the power to sting, just like emotions.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Courtney Peppernell is a best-selling LGBTQ author from Sydney, Australia. Courtney has been writing her whole life and focuses on Young Adult novels and Poetry Collections. Keeping Long Island is her third title release, and the first under her new book brand, Pepper Books.

 

I received this book as part of the Blog Tour in exchange for a review.

All pictures, quotes, and videos belong to their respective owners. I use them here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

Top 5 Wednesday: Books to Get You Out of a Reading Slump

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Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam from Thoughts on Tomes and created by Lainey from Gingerreadlainey.

We can all agree, reading slumps are the worst. Reading is supposed to be there for us, right? That’s what we turn to for comfort, so what happens when even that becomes something that sucks? Maybe life is getting to you, maybe you’ve had more than your fair share of 1 star reads.

Whatever the reason, this week I want to share with you five books that I think can get you out of a reading slump (even though I hope it’s a rare occasion!).

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Goodreads  –  My Review

This is the latest book that I’ve read in one sitting. Normally I don’t do that because I have so many other things to do: work, sleep, child care, etc. However, this arrived in the mail at just the right time and I was able to binge read it overnight and loved it! It’s a bit heavy emotionally speaking and the ending will be a shock, I think. It’s definitely going to be a reread at some point just to see if I can pick up on the ending now that I know what it is.

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Goodreads

Neil Gaiman is one of my favorite authors because he has a knack for tacking the mundane and turning it into an adventure. This time, it’s the story of a father going to the corner store for some milk for his children’s cereal. Nothing special, you’d think, until he meets a time traveling stegosaurus and goes on a air balloon trip that he relates to his children upon his arrival home. Do they believe him? All I’ll say is, check the milk bottle.

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Goodreads

This 2016 thriller was one I had to read in snippets because my copy was relegated to my work station, but I couldn’t wait for that moment each day when I got to sit down and read a few chapters. It’s quite serious, but very engaging. It’s about a couple that seem to have the perfect life, but as with a lot of things, their relationship is different behind closed doors. There were aspects of it that terrified me because you can see it play out on the page, such as the emotional abuse, but it’s the motivation for this cruelty that I didn’t anticipate. It’s a fast read with a good ending.

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Goodreads

This was a one-off book that Rainbow Rowell wrote for World Book Day, a UK holiday that I wish we had a counterpart for in the US. You can get a copy of this novella either from an Amazon 3rd Party Seller or on Ebay, as it’s never been sold in the US to my knowledge.

It’s about Elena, a girl who’s enormously passionate about Star Wars. So much so in fact that she queues up hours in advance to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens. She’s expecting a good time with fellow fans and, well, her expectations don’t quite met up with reality. I won’t say more for fear of spoilers.

A quick read, this, that’s sure to give you a jolt of fandom energy and good writing from one of my favorite contemporary authors.

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Goodreads  –  My Review

This is a wonderfully told mystery. It isn’t burdened down with a romance, which is all well and good, but sometimes I like books without having to worry about that. It takes place in the 1800’s and is very good about pulling you along, feeding you just enough information about murder and potentially supernatural plants to keep you reading long past your bedtime.

All pictures, quotes, and videos belong to their respective owners. I use them here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

Top 10 Tuesday: 10 Books I Loved Less Than I Thought I Would

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Top 10 Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. You can find the prompts here.

There are some books that, for one reason or another, don’t work out as well as you might have hoped. Maybe it was the hype? Maybe it was just a terribly written book. Then again, it might not have been to your tastes and someone else might like it fine. Tons of reasons, each valid. The ten eight books I’m looking at this week are books I’ve read that I thought I was going to love for one reason or another and ended up being disappointed by.

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Why not lead off with the most disappointing entry on this list? I know it’s not written by J.K. Rowling so that should have been my first clue, but as she had a hand in developing the story, I thought that there would be a certain quality to this story. It wasn’t the format that bothered me, rather the events and the character development. Neither lived up to the legacy that was created by the seven Harry Potter novels and the fact that this is supposed to be considered Harry Potter #8 is close to offensive. I personally cannot count it, it was that disappointing.

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This one comes with a caveat: I think the only reason I didn’t like this book was because the narrator for the audiobook had a voice that irritated me to no end. I’m still not sure how I managed to finish it. I started the book as a physical copy and was loving it, but then I had a lot of work to get done so I picked the CD’s up at the library. I plan on rereading the series this year so I can read the third book with a fresh mind on the previous two books since I had such a poor first experience.

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I read  this after it being recommended all over BookTube and after the movie went into production. I figured that was as good a time as any, right? That turned out to be a mistake. I disliked this book so much that I barely finished it. I guess this means it’s almost worse than Cursed Child? I think the only reason it doesn’t beat that one out is because I don’t have a history with this author.

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While I did feature this book in a previous post because I thought it could do with more recipes due to the nature of the book (loads of food), I didn’t love it nearly as much as I thought I would. This is one of the few instances where I watched the movie before reading the book and it’s also one of the few instances in which I think the movie is better than the book. The novel was just so slow and didn’t have the same quality of character development or atmosphere as the film.

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Rat Queens looked so cool. I think the reason I was disappointed in this one is because I went into it with an idea of what it was and it really wasn’t. I thought these characters were campaigners, for example, and not actually living these adventures. That changed the dynamic of what I had in my head. Then there was the humor. It just didn’t click for me and made the reading a chore.

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I love Doctor Who stories normally, but this was not as adventurous as the ones I’d read in the past. Whether this is because these books are written by different authors or whether it’s because this was (supposed to be) about the Twelfth Doctor, I don’t know, but it was a let down.

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The Nightmare Before Christmas is a classic and when you publish a new “version” of a classic, you’ve got to be careful. It’s like doing a movie reboot or retelling, there’s a lot of expectations based on an already beloved material. Guess what? Nightmare is one such material and this adaptation was one instance in which the publisher should not have gone ahead. It brought nothing new to the table and, somehow, made the tale boring. How, how do you do that to Jack and Sally? Writing this book, apparently.

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I didn’t mind Under Rose-Tainted Skies as much as some of the other entries on this list. What let me down on this one was the character development, specifically in regards to the romance. I don’t have a problem with romances, but the way that the two main characters acted (their awkwardness, etc.) halted any sort of interest I had in them and made the story falter. It was a big road bump in an otherwise enjoyable story about a tough subject (mental illness: agoraphobia, self harm).

 

 

All pictures, quotes, and videos belong to their respective owners. I use them here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.