Would you rather | Tag

I’ve been strung up with university assignments for the last month, but now will holidays  finally here I thought I’d get around to finally posting this blog post. A month late, oops!

The lovely Cozy with books tagged me in this book tag! So here’s my answers to her would you rather questions!

1. Would you rather sit in a cafe and read or in your own little reading nook?

My own reading nook for sure. I really struggle to read in noisy spaces. Every sound and conversation will suddenly seem more interesting than the words on the page. Even when reading at home I often put on headphones and play fitting ambiences to drown out the neighbourhood sounds.

2. Would you rather spoil the book by reading the climax of a book first or the last 2 chapters?

The last two chapters. I think. I’m not sure of this decision but its what I’ll go with. I used to read the last page or line before I even started a book out of curiosity. Would not recommend.

3. Would you rather travel with and read a 700+ page hardcover book or on a slow to function phone app (not ebook or tablet)?

A slow phone would be painful. I’ll take the 700+ page hardcover anyway.

4. Would you rather live in your last book for 2 years or stay a night in the hotel of The Shining for 2 nights?

Well, the last book I read by ‘It Sounded Better in My Head’ by Nina Kenwood which is set in Australia… so I suppose I’m already living it!

5. Would you rather have a bookish box with only goodies but no book or a book box with only books and nothing else?

This is tough! I haven’t bought many bookish boxes in the past due to how expensive shipping is to Australia, but the one time I have it was just items. But the special edition books from bookish boxes are always SO BEAUTIFUL. So for that reason I’ll go with the book.

6. Would you rather read only in first, second, or third POV for the next 2 years?

My first (ha) thought was to say first person, but that means I wouldn’t be able to read V.E. Schwab books for two years! First person is my own personal writing choice, so would I not be able to read my own WIPS? Oh no… Okay I’ll go with third POV. I need to reread Shades of Magic too badly to give that up.

7. Would you rather live in a horror book taking place on a haunted lake or in the haunted woods?

Neither of these scenarios sound fun. The woods sounds way too creepy for my liking, and as much as this would probably turn me from loving rivers and lakes and the ocean, I have to go with haunted lake.

8. Would you rather have your favorite book turned into a movie/show/game or have your favorite movie/show/game turned into a book?

Favourite book turned into a movie/show/game for sure! As much as I’d love an Animal Crossing book the idea of a Shades of Magic movie/show/game is far more appealing. Also, that trilogy would work so well as a game!?

9. Would you rather read a book with very small font size or read a book with normal text but in the dark?

Oh damn. Okay, I hate with a passion too small font sizes. I have put down books for that sole reason. As tiring as reading in the dark would get, and how much my family would nag me about how bad that is for you, I have to choose that.

10. Would you rather bring your last book to the real world or get dragged into the book’s world/setting?

My last read was It Sounded Better in My Head by Nina Kenwood. Seeing as I’m already living in Australia and the story is a contemporary I feel either way won’t change too much. So, I’ll bring that books setting to the real world. We can always have more beaches!

If you read this and want to partake, consider yourself tagged!

It Sounded Better in My Head by Nina Kenwood | Review

The Text Prize winner of 2018, Nina Kenwood’s young adult romance deals with the teenage self in every way of the term. From our protagonist Natalie’s self image and how her acne has impacted her life, to self exploration as she finds first love in unlikely places and people. The realistic depictions of teenagers and their views will stay with you long after you put this down.

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Book Spine Poetry – my latest fascination

I was sat watching the mornings vlogbrothers video (a youtube channel run by John and Hank Green who, if you know anything about books, you are likely familiar with) when a new idea was introduced to me. At the start of the video, John created two ‘book title portraits’. I implore you to see how great they are for yourself once you read this post. This idea I found is known by many names, namely: book title portraits, book title poetry and book spine poetry. I rather like the last one.

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Later that day I went to my room, sized up my bookshelves and decided to try my hand at some ‘book title portraits’ of my friends. These turned more into poetry, finding myself unable to build such complete sentences as many examples online do. Here is one:

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Why I avoided audiobooks

When the internet was feverishly debating the pros and cons of physical books versus ebooks, I leaned strongly to the side of physical books. The experience of holding the weight of a book in your hands to me was unparalleled. Feeling the corse paper as you turn the pages and viewing your progress in a tangible product. This intrinsic journey couldn’t possibly be replicated digitally. The little progress bar along the bottom of the screen would not do!

My feelings towards ebooks has changed fairly recently, something me two years ago would never have been able to believe, leaving me to tackle the final book form I’ve long avoided: audiobooks.

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5 #LoveOzYA books I’m excited for in 2020

I wholeheartedly love the #LoveOzYA movement and message. So much of the young adult books I see on bookstores shelves are written by international authors and set in their countries (mostly America). This isn’t a bad thing, as these books are brilliant. However, it displays the gap in the young adult genre of Aussie stories.

These five books I’ve found after scouring the internet that I’m very excited to pick up in the first half of 2020.

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2019 Literary Resolutions

This is a month and a bit way too late because I forgot I had the draft of this post sitting and waiting for me. So here it is, way too late.

I’ve found making New Years resolutions motivates me, even if only for two months; January and December. So here are my literary related resolutions for two thousand and nineteen.

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my top 10 reads of 2018

At the beginning of the 2018 I had the goal of reading 20 books in 2018. I managed 12 to my disappointment and surprise. Disappointment that I didn’t reach a goal, but surprise at how difficult it was to fit reading in and how much I did accomplish. That being said I loved nearly all the books I read and ordering these was sooo difficult. So from what I read in 2018, here are my top 10.

10. Warcross by Marie Lu


genre: science fiction / contemporary

rating: 3.5/5

overview: Warcross isn’t just a game for some, it’s a way of life. People play the  augmented reality game in their daily lives, some to escape the ordinary world and others to make a profit. The story follows Emika Chen, a teenager struggling to make ends meet. She works as a bounty hunter, tracking down players who bet on the game illegally. One day, she takes a risk and glitches herself into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships for everyone to see. Instead of being arrested she becomes an overnight sensation and offered a place in the games with a twist.

The thing was drew me into this story was the writing. I remember distinctly thinking that the first chapter is exactly everything a first chapter should be. It got be intrigued, kept me reading, set up the story and made me like the main character Emika. The story contains lots of twists that I didn’t guess as well as a slew of interesting side characters. The actual game of Warcross was very interesting as well as the way augmented and virtual reality worked. Also how Emika actually used sort of code to hack into things instead of the stereotypical ‘type at computer for ten seconds and suddenly you’re in’.

9. When Dimple met Rishi by Sandhya Menon


genre: contemporary

rating: 4/5

overview: Dimple wants nothing to do with her parents traditions. Sure, she respects them but if they truly wanted her to find the “Ideal Indian Husband” they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers… right? Rishi on the other hand is a hopeless romantic. Rishi and Dimple’s parents set the pair up without Dimple’s knowledge with Rishi on a quest to woo her. When it all doesn’t go to plan, hilarity ensues.

I really liked this book and both main characters. Sometime’s you’ll read a multi POV book you’ll only like one POV and hate reading through the other. In this I liked both perspectives. The book also is somewhat funny, a notable scene near the beginning making me laugh out loud. Dimple and Rishi’s relationship developed quite naturally to me, or at least as natural as a YA contemporary can be. Don’t be deceived by how ‘low’ it seems on my list, I really liked this book.

8. Not If I Save You First by Ally Carter


genre: adventure

rating: 4/5

overview: Maddie thought she and Logan would be friends forever. But when your dad is a Secret Service agent and your best friend is the president’s son, sometimes life has other plans. Before she knows it, Maddie’s dad is dragging her to a cabin in the middle of the Alaskan wilderness. Maddie tells herself it’s okay. She has wood to cut and weapons to bedazzle. Her life is full. Until Logan shows up and an assailant appears out of nowhere dragging him to some unknown fate with only her to rescue him.

I should preface this by saying I love Ally Carter books. They’re full of action and mystery and are younger YA (probably because of the lack of swearing and other things). I really want more people to fall in love with her stories. Her Gallagher Girls series is possibly my favourite series ever, but I might make a separate blog post about that another time.

I loved Maddie and Logan’s dynamic and this story. It’s truly the kind of story you don’t find in movies enough. Ally Carter really knows how to write page turning gripping mysteries and adventures and this book is no exception. The book has satisfying plots, nail biting action and characters you’ll become attached to.

7. All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven


genre: contemporary

rating (at time of reading): 5/5 | rating (now): 4/5

overview: When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. After this meeting they pair up on a school project to see the wonders of their state and make discoveries about themselves and the world around them. Only with Violet can Finch be his true death inclined self. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.

I’ve included my rating change to demonstrate how this book made me feel. Because boy did this book make me feel. I became so invested in Violet and Finch’s lives and relationship as it blossoms because of this project. This book ticked all the boxes of a YA romance contemporary and ticked them well. I don’t usually feel sad for characters like I did with this book. But the story is so gut wrenching I don’t know how it’s possible not to. I will acknowledge upon further exploration that some parts may be problematic. It’ll be interesting to see how the story is responded to when the movie comes out sometime next year.

6. The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken


genre: dystopian

rating: 4/5

overview: When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something frightening enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that got her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that had killed most of America’s children, but she and the others emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they could not control. Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones: an orange with the ability to control minds. When she’s broken out of Thurmond and goes on the run she meets a group of other kids like her all on a quest to find East River, a safe haven for kids like them.

I read this early in the year and loved it. It’s a series and I really have to read the next books but haven’t gotten around to it. Alexandra Bracken’s writing is so brilliant I could easily have analysed it for a school assignment. One quote in particular I wrote down at the time because of how good it was: the night stained the skin under her eyes like bruises. Ugh! How beautiful is that? This book is also gripping, which a book so thick desperately needs to be to retain the readers attention. Although the trend of dystopia has passed I still love reading dystopia and thoroughly enjoyed this book. Of the five colours and their powers I’d want to be a blue (telekinesis) or orange (mind control).

The film also came out this year which was possibly the most accurate book to movie adaptation I’ve ever seen. However, by being so faithful (and dystopian years after the trend) it damaged its ratings from those who haven’t read the books. Which sadly means a sequel is unlikely. Which is annoying when it ends like the book.

5. They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera


genre: contemporary

rating: 4.5/5

overview: On September 5, a little after midnight, Death-Cast calls Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio to give them some bad news: They’re going to die today. Mateo and Rufus are total strangers, but, for different reasons, they’re both looking to make a new friend on their End Day. The good news: There’s an app for that. It’s called the Last Friend, and through it, Rufus and Mateo are about to meet up for one last great adventure—to live a lifetime in a single day

I read this book over one day which I highly recommend since it is set over one day. This made it more immersive and gripping. That seems to be a general theme with these books: they were all gripping. This book in particular made me feel a way I never have when reading a book. I felt nervous the whole time, in a hopeful yet worried way. You read the book knowing (or thinking) that they’re both going to die at the end. This is a tension tactic that worked the best I’ve ever read. It made me think about life and death, the meaning of it all and what I’d do if I only had one day left. Which are topics I generally enjoy psyching myself out by thinking about. Fun stuff.

4. One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus


genre: contemporary mystery

rating: 4/5

overview: On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention. Brownwyn, the brain. Addy, the beauty. Nate, the criminal. Cooper, the athlete and Simon, the outcast and creator of the schools notorious gossip app. Except before detentions end, Simon’s dead. The next day he planned to post revealing posts about each of the others, which makes them all suspects in his murder. So pay attention and you might just solve this.

Honestly this book took me two attempts to get into, but once I was in I read it within half a day. It has everything you’d want from a contemporary with a side of mystery: plot twists, suspicious characters and complicating clues. It’s one big puzzle and I loved it. I constantly went between the four characters trying to pinpoint who it was. I want to reread it for that reason to find all the little clues I missed. The book is also becoming a tv series by E! at some point which will be exciting. I really hope it does the story justice.

3. Small Spaces by Sarah Epstein


genre: psychological thriller

rating: 4/5

overview: Ash Carmody has been traumatised since childhood, when she witnessed her gruesome imaginary friend Sparrow lure young Mallory Fisher away from a carnival. At the time nobody believed Tash, and she has since come to accept that Sparrow wasn’t real. Now fifteen and mute, Mallory’s never spoken about the week she went missing. As disturbing memories resurface, Tash starts to see Sparrow again. And she realises Mallory is the key to unlocking the truth about a dark secret connecting them. Does Sparrow exist after all? Or is Tash more dangerous to others than she thinks?

I picked up this book on a whim at my local big w and on it’s release day unknowingly. The tag line ‘a beautifully crafted psychological thriller you can’t put down’ drew me in. And the tag line wasn’t wrong. This was the first psychological thriller I’ve ever read and made me want to find more to read. The characters are realistic, as is the setting. It’s almost so realistic it’s scary, making you think it really happened and isn’t a story. It’s set in Australia (where I am) and incorporated enough Aussie slang to be interesting and not make me put it down. Overall I HIGHLY recommend this book to anyone 16+ and also recommend you don’t read it at night. Like I did. Wasn’t great jumping at every noise as she in the story walked around in a spooky(ish) house.

2. Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell


genre: contemporary

rating: 4/5

overview: Eleanor and Park is the story of two sixteen year olds who fall in love over school bus rides, cassette tapes, comic books and phone calls. They’re both misfits in their own way. They’re smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.

I had to include the US cover in comparison to the UK/AUS cover I own. I held off reading this for years because I was hoping I’d find the US cover in stores because I love it’s style so much. Alas I didn’t, bought the AUS cover and read it within a day. I really liked this book and the main characters of Eleanor and Park. The book was paced so well and the romance grew in a natural way. It had plot twists and a lot of heart wrenching moments. Usually I hate romance in books (and irl) and especially books focused so heavily on it. Yet I really loved this book. I know I was in the right mood for it when I read it which helped it reach number two on my list!

1. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas


genre: contemporary

rating: 5/5

overview: Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.
Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr. But what Starr does—or does not—say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

Finally, my number one book of the year: The Hate U Give. Gee, I love this book. It’s possibly my favourite book ever, or at least in the top three. Everyone says the story is so important and they’re not wrong. This perspective of the world and of events that are truly happening around the world today is so necessary. It opened my eyes to a perspective I’m not shown beyond tweets and the news. Angie Thomas’ writing style is also great, keeping me engaged and making me read it in two sittings in one day. Starr is likeable and flawed in such a human way. I’m also obviously so excited for the movie which is only coming out in Australia January 31st to my frustration.

So those were my top 10 reads of 2018! Hope you enjoyed.

What were your top few or top 10 reads of 2018? Did you achieve your reading goal if you set one? Was any of your top reads on my list? Comment below!

Have a great day

~ Cel