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The Paper Menageries and Other Stories by Ken Liu

the-paper-menageries

★★★★☆

Right off the bat I am going to say that I have never been able to get into short stories. So the fact that I rated this 4 stars might just be a miracle. A Booktuber (The Poptimist) I really enjoy likes this collection and told me it could be a good starting off point for me to jump into short stories, and he was right.

I have no idea how to do a summary for a short story collection. I’m just going to say that there are a lot of different genres in this book, the stories range from science fiction, fantasy, to historical fiction and a sort of weird combination that seems to work. I personally would probably classify this book as science fiction.

To start off the book, I found the story to be a little to literal for my liking. I didn’t hate it but I was a little worried about liking this author. But I pushed through and they just seemed to get better the further I got. My favourite story was most definitely the one the book was named after, The Paper Menageries. I won’t ruin it for you guys, since it is a short story I think giving you any plot would be a bit of a spoiler. I’ll just say that I thought it was just going to be cute little story, and it had a lot more substance than I was expecting. For people who don’t read collections and just the odd short story, I would recommend this story to everyone.

It is so odd for me to try and review a collection of short stories, every story is so different, and I have different feelings about them all. I really liked almost all of the stories. But I did find near the end of the book for the last three stories or so, I was getting tired of reading short fiction. Thinking about it now, I probably should have put it down and come back rather than pushed through. There is one story that is about 100 pages long and I just couldn’t get into it and I think that’s the reason I had sort of lost interest. But I know now to put the stories down and come back if I’m getting bored. It’s not like you can forget what was happening like in a novel.

I have never had good luck with science fiction really, and haven’t been a fan of short stories in the past. But I think science fiction might be best in short story format, for me anyways. I think people should at least give this book a try, and to read past the first story because it gets better.

Let me know if you guys have any short story collections you would recommend, or if you just can’t seem to get into them like me.

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Hold Your Own by Kate Tempest

hold-your-own

★★★★★

I am fairly new to the poetry world, but I have to say that I am becoming a huge fan. I probably won’t be very analytical, since I don’t really know what I am talking about, but I can tell you that I loved this collection of poetry.

The collection is broken down into four parts: Childhood, Womanhood, Manhood and Blind Profit. It centres around the blind prophet Tiresias, the poetry seems to link the ancient greek mythology with modern day. Or could be described as a modern retelling. She pretty much touches on everything: youthfulness, sex, love, community, PTSD, bullying. There just seems to be something for absolutely everyone in here.

This poetry will bring a lot of different emotions with it, some will make you smile, and other could make you cry. Kate Tempest has a way of touching on many emotions, while keeping a sort of simplicity to it. I love that this poetry isn’t abstract, you don’t have to sit there an analyze it. Anyone can pick it up and just experience it!

This book got my first five star review of the year, and it has definitely earned it. I would urge everyone to pick this up and give it a try. Even if you don’t think you like poetry, or have no idea where to start. I am new to this world and am glad to say that I am enjoying it so far.

Does anyone have any suggestions on where I should go next in the poetry universe? I was thinking Milk and Honey next since I have only heard great things so far.

Ringing in the New Year Book Tag

I was tagged by Always Booking, you should all go check out her blog if you haven’t already. Her New Friend Friday posts are an awesome way to discover new blogger.

Best book/series you’ve read in 2016

Okay, so surprisingly this is an easy one for me. I know, I know there are so many amazing books out there. But there was one that stood out from the crowd, and for the time being I think this is my favourite book of all time. If you would like to hear me go on and on about it you can always check out my review.

wenjack

Authors that you’ve recently found and would like to read more of in the new year.

Well obviously Joseph Boyden I mentioned up above. But also Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Joe Hill, and Marissa Meyer.

Most anticipated book turned movie/TV show.

I’m going to say The Dark Tower by Stephen King, since I remember really enjoying the book, but I now can’t seem to remember what happens. Maybe it could be a way for me to get a bit of a recap. Then again I usually don’t watch a lot of books to movies, they are usually a let down.

dark-tower-stephen-king

Name a character that you wouldn’t mind sharing a kiss at midnight with.

Honestly there isn’t one that is coming to mind. I have never been someone who seems to fall for fictional characters. So I don’t know this one is going to be a non answer for me.

What’s on my TBR for 2017

Oh man where to start. I’ll give a few off my ever growing list.

the-underground-railroadmilk-and-honeythe-enchantedmy-life-on-the-road

How many books do you plan on reading in 2017.

I have set my Goodreads goal to 60 books, this should be doable I think. I try to up my goal a little each year but I don’t want to push it to much. I still want to enjoy what I am reading.

Will you participate in the Goodreads reading challenge or any other?

Well I guess I already answered the Goodreads question above. I usually do the the popsugar reading challenge too, but this year I have decided to focus more on getting my TBR down, as well as reading what is already sitting on my bookshelves.

Any New Years resolutions (bookish, blogging, or otherwise)?

Oh man there is a lot of stuff I want to work on every year. Read more, read better books. As for blogging, I’m still fairly new so I’m learning as I go so no resolutions for that quite yet. Personally, I’ll probably be working with physio to try and get back into shape after being in a cast for 3 months.

TAG

Well it might be getting a little late for a New Years post to be tagging a bunch of people, especially since I forgot to do this one up after I was tagged a while back. So anyone who feels the urge feel free to consider yourself tagged!!

The Entertainer Blogger Award

Oh man this is so exciting for me, this is my first time being tagged to do anything. They always look like so much fun, so I could wait to write this one up right away…..well as soon as I noticed I had been tagged that is. So first off I would like to thank MissAbigailSite, if you haven’t checked out her blog you should go do that now.

So here we go:

The Rules

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  2. Add these rules to your post.
  3. Answer all the questions below.
  4. Display the award picture in your post.
  5. Nominate 7 other bloggers who are funny, inspiring and most important of all ENTERTAINING!

And the reason you’re all here my answers…

Question 1.Why did you start a blog in the first place?

Hmmm, well obviously I love books and reading like all book bloggers. But I guess the reason is: I have an old ankle injury that got worse and I couldn’t do a lot. This meant I was reading way more than I had in the past, and to be honest I don’t know anyone who reads as much as me and wanted people I could talk books with.

Question 2. What is you favourite book?

Why? This is such a hard question!!The only reason I think I will be able to answer it is because I recently read a novella that I absolutely fell in love with. That would be  Wenjack by Joseph Boyden, if you are interested I did do a review where I basically rant about it non stop.

Question 3. What do you dislike the most?

Well I guess considering this is a book blog, I should probably pick something literary in some way, shape or form. One this that absolutely drive me crazy when I’m reading is when authors explain every little thing to you, readers are not dumb we can figure it out. The power of inference is great.

Question 4. What is your favourite food item from the mall?

This really depends on my mood at the time. But a safe bet would be tacos, I love tacos mmmmmmmmmm tacos.

Question 5. What is your favourite pastime?

Okay so obviously I love reading, but one of my favourite pastime is actually hiking. I haven’t been able too recently, due to my injury, but hopefully this summer I can get out there again.

I don’t know who has been nominated already and can’t remember who has done this so my apologies if this is a repeat.

Drum roll please ……

The Orang-utan Librarian

Books, Vertigo and Tea

By Hook Or by Book

Always Booking

The Tattooed Book Geek

The Book Heathen

Book Slayer Reads

On a side note I has some technical difficulties with the award picture, but I did my best. I think I did it right.

Horns by Joe Hill

horns

★★★★☆

Sorry for the delay guys I got in for a last minute ankle surgery and have been dealing with that. I should be back to reading more and being able to think straight enough to write again. Well I guess we will see with this post. I guess this is a bit of a disclaimer… don’t judge – I’m still on pain killers.

This book was exactly what I was expecting and just what I was hoping it would be. In case you guys didn’t know Joe Hill is actually Stephen King’s son, so I went into this book expecting quite a bit. I am a big King fan, even though I really haven’t read all that much of his work; but let’s be honest, he writes way too fast to be able to keep up with your regular reading on top of it all. Enough about the father though this is about his son the protege.

The little summary: It focuses around the main character that goes by Ig, one morning after a night of drinking and passing out he awoke with horns growing from his temples. Your learn the back story of his girlfriend being raped and murdered, to which he was the primary suspect. His parents helped the charges go away, which only made public opinion worse for him. He was stuck in his own personal hell, that was until the horns grew and with what came with them. Everything starts to change.

I really, really enjoyed this book. I don’t want to spend the whole review telling you how it is or isn’t like his father’s work, but I couldn’t help but compare while reading. This book is fast paced for the most part, and had me completely hooked from the first page. It starts with a bang, and kept me turning pages. The plot itself was very intriguing: I just wanted to know why, how, and where this was going. That isn’t to say that the characters weren’t extremely well done. Hill took his time to give proper background – it really lets you get into their psyche….whether you want to or not. Although it may not be the most original idea, I really enjoyed getting their back story in tidbits after the main plot was already moving along. I like to have questions and then figure them out later on.

Now a little bit of a comparison to Stephen King. I could definitely see the influence he has had on his writing style. But to me looking at it like that it felt like I was reading Stephen King lite. I found, plot wise, if you were looking for it, you could see similar turns that you would come to expect from his dad’s writing. As well as the way he writes characters, which is definitely a compliment if you ask me. I find for both authors the plot is well done. But the characters are the real selling point for me; they are in depth without being boring. I would say he is most definitely a talented author in his own right, but I can see some influence from his father.

I would recommend this book, especially to anyone who is a fan of Stephen King. That being said anyone who likes a good horror (this could even be considered fantasy I believe), I think could really enjoy this book. It’s interesting, suspenseful at times. Even though it is considered horror, it is not a gory book by any means.

I would like to try another Joe Hill book, I was considering NOS4A2. If any of you guys have read it or have an opinion about any of his books let me know what you thought.

On This Bookish Day: January 1st- J.D. Salinger is born

Hello fellow bookworms, I have decided to start a new monthly posting. I’m going to call it On This Bookish Day (incase you hadn’t got that from my oh so subtle title). So the idea is that one day of the month I will honour an important literary date in history. I’ll tell you a little about the author and review one of their books. Or at least that is the plan at this stage of the game. Just on a side note I haven’t seen this on any blogs as of yet, but that doesn’t mean someone hasn’t already had the idea, I am not trying to steal it if it already exists.

So for my post for On This Bookish Day:

January 1st- J.D. Salinger is born, 1919

So a little about the man. Salinger as many know was an american writer, he was raised in Manhattan, and started by writing short stories while he was in high school (pretty impressive). He is most well known for Catcher in the Rye, many read it in school as part of the curriculum, I on the other hand did not. He has had a total of 5 books printed, all of them short story collections, except for the famous Catcher in the Rye. He was at one point considered the most important American writer since WWII, and from what I can tell it’s because his book got people talking. Catcher in the Rye is a book that people wither love or hate, so people will discuss.

A few random facts I found out while looking him up:

  • The Catcher in the Rye was originally rejected by publishers, but once published was an instant success. Selling 65 million copies since its publication
  • He studied a number of religions including: Hinduism, Christian Science, Scientology, and Zen Buddhism.
  • Salinger was drafted into the war in 1942 and during that time he met Ernest Hemingway.

I’m sure there are many more but those are the ones I found interesting. So as you can imagine in honour of his birthday I read The Catcher in the Rye for the first time and wrote a quick review.

the-catcher-and-the-rye

★☆☆☆☆

Hmmmm, what to say about this classic piece of literature…… I hated it. I originally rated this with two stars and then after thinking about it for a bit I decided it was a one star book for me. It isn’t often that I use to word hate for any book, but the more I think about it, the more I get annoyed.

So the quick summary plot since I’m sure many of you know the general idea of the book if you haven’t read it already. The very simple plot is: a young man, 16 years old is being expelled from another private school. The story is Holden Caulfield going back home, and his couple of days in the city before his parents find out. The novel is written from Caulfields point of view and is basically showing his observations of everyone he encounters.

So now for why I hated it, sorry guys for anyone who is a big fan, but Holden is the most annoying character I have ever read. He is just a cocky little s***, who walks around telling you how much better he is than everyone. Or just plainly how dumb everyone else is. The whole time I read this book I was frustrated because I wanted to slap him the entire time. I know it is relatively accurate to how teenagers talk but he repeats saying over and over and over, and it drove me nuts. None of this is really anything bad about the writing, it is only the story itself and the character. From what I have seen you either love or hate this book, and you can clearly see where I landed. I personally believe that the popularity of this book is because of the controversy around it. One of the reasons I was so interested, was to find out which group I would land in.

It was a short book so it’s a short review. In the end I hated the book, but didn’t hate the writing. So surprisingly I would try this author again.

Let me know what you guys thought of the book and if you guys like the idea of this sort of monthly blog post. I was pretty excited about the idea so I hope you guys liked it just as much.

 

My 2017 Reading Goals

The new year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written. We can help write that story by setting goals.

Melody Beattie

Okay, so I usually don’t do a whole lot for reading goals, but this year I have a few things I want to work on. Some pretty specific and others just trying to do better. I don’t know about you guys, but I don’t take my own reading goals to seriously. This would be why I don’t really do TBRs….. I won’t stick to them, at all.

Finish previously started series.


I was going through my read list on Goodreads and realised that I have a ton of started series that I never finished. It wasn’t that I didn’t like the book and decided to leave it, I really enjoyed them but never seemed to go back. I have a habit of reading an authors most popular work and not going back whether I liked it or not. I really shouldn’t be judging based on one piece of work especially if I thought it was good, seems I should continue. So I came up with a list of all unfinished series that I was actually enjoying, and I have quite the project here:

  • The Golden Compass
  • Divergent
  • Harry Potter
  • The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
  • Cinder
  • Persepolis
  • Coalwood Way
  • Wolf Brother
  • Sherlock Holmes

60 Books Total


My good reads goal I’m upping this year to 60 books, but now that I have discovered graphic novels and manga, I’m aiming for 40 of those books to be book not including either of those.

17,000 Pages


I have never thought about it this way before, but since I got my Goodreads yearly wrap-up e-mail, I’m looking at it a little different. I read a little over 15,000 last year and wasn’t sure how much to add so I picked an extra 2,000. We will see if that was anywhere near reasonable.

6 Classics


My list of classics is just sad, so I feel like I need to push myself to do better. I even enjoy the classics that I have read just never seem to pick them.

15 Non-Fiction


I read quite a few memoirs but I think I could always do a bit better. I believe I read 10 last year so this shouldn’t be to much of a push. Especially considering I got a couple for Christmas this year. Yay!!!!

Read More Diversely


This one is so hard to measure, but I still want to do better with it. I noticed this last year that almost all the authors I read were american or european, and that just seems like I’m missing out.

 

Wish me luck guys!! And let me know what you guys are trying to achieve this year.