2015 Wrap-Up: The Best and the Worst

book blog

Hello everyone! I haven’t blogged that much recently, but I’m planning on getting back to a regular schedule (or at least semi-regular) in 2016.

Books read (in chronological order):

It’s not that many, but it’s quite a lot for me. Here’s to 2016 being even better in terms of the amount of books read. 

FAVORITES

favorite books

BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENTS

book disappointments

These are not necessarily bad books, but they’re disappointments because I expected much more from many of them.

What were your favorite 2015 reads? The biggest disappointments? Did you get any books for Christmas? 

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Review: Carrie by Stephen King

Carrie by Stephen KingCarrie by Stephen King
First published by Doubleday in 1974
Pages: 253
Genres: Horror, Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal
Buy: Amazon | Book Depository
Rating:
 photo four stars_zps2ktftgcp.png

 

 

 

 

Carrie knew she should not use
the terrifying power she possessed…

So this one was meant to be my Halloween read, but I ended up not finishing it until recently. Not because it wasn’t good, but because I’m lazy and I procrastinate.

Everyone most likely already know what Carrie is about, even without having ever read the book or watched any of the movies, but this review needs a short summary anyway.

Carrie White has the power of telekinesis. She’s in high school, badly bullied and completely alone. Her mother isn’t much help, a religious fantastic, probably psychotic, who shelters Carrie to the extreme. When one of the school’s most popular boys asks Carrie to prom she can’t believe it’s actually happening and for the first time in her life she’s happy and hopeful. Little does she know that someone has a horrible plan for her and that that prom will be referred to as the Black Prom for years to come.  

Finally, helpless, she said: “Do you like me?”
He said: “You’re beautiful.”
She was.

After that dramatic summary, let’s move on. I didn’t actually know much about the story of Carrie before I read it. Unlike the rest of the world I hadn’t seen any of the movie adaptations, so all I knew about it is from what I read in King’s On Writing (though I skimmed some of the stories about Carrie because I didn’t want to be spoiled). I knew about the bullying and the telekinesis and shit going down at the prom, and of course the infamous locker room scene, but that was it. That sounds like a lot but it’s not really. 

If you don’t know the locker room scene, oh boy, let me tell you. The novel starts off with that scene and it really illustrates both Carries problem with bullies and her mother’s abuse and neglect. Carrie gets her first period in the showers and thinks she’s going to die, as she has no idea what it is because her mother never told her (she’s 16 years old). The other girls notice and start to throw hygiene products at her while laughing and screaming “Plug it up!” Meanwhile Carrie cries, still thinking she’s dying. One of the girls end up with a bloody hand-print on her skirt. It’s awful and  humiliating and so effective. Damn ballsy way to open up a novel. 

Carrie is an extremely uncomfortable book to read, mostly because of Carrie’s mother Margaret, who is the real monster here. Carrie is just the victim of her “religious mania,” there’s only so much you can take before you snap. What an awful woman, she gave me major creeps. She’s abusive, both physically and mentally. She’s obsessed with “sinning” and locks Carrie inside a closet every time she “sins” (getting your period is a sin, by the way, because that means you haven’t been able to stop yourself from having dirty thoughts). Margaret calls breasts “dirtypillows.” That says something. 

I didn’t know that this book was written in an epistolary form. That was neat. It consists of parts from Carrie’s point of view, but it also contains snippets from books written by survivors of the Black Prom, interviews with various people, research papers and essays (about Carrie and telekinesis) etc. It makes the events seem real when you see things like “From The Shadow Exploded (p. 131):” and “My Name Is Susan Snell (p. 45).”

“Nothing can change [Carrie] back now from something made out of newsprint into a person. But she was, and she hurt. More than any of us probably know, she hurt. And I’m so sorry and I hope it was good for her, that prom. Until the terror began, I hope it was good and fine and wonderful and magic…”

I gave this book 4/5 stars. I thought it was great but I could have been a little bit more invested in it, so that pulls away a star. I wanted it to be a little bit scarier to, but to be fair, what’s scarier than Margaret White and the wrath of bullies? Not much. 

Carrie by Stephen King
Have you read it? What do you think? 
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Review: Eleanor & Park

eleanor and parkEleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
Published by St. Martin’s Press in
2013
Pages: 328
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Buy: Amazon | Book Depository
Rating:
eleanor and park

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Two misfits.
One extraordinary love.

I finally finished this book yesterday and I liked it way more than I thought I would, since I didn’t particularly love Fangirl [my review]. 

Everyone probably knows what this book is about already, but whatever, here’s a short summary. E&P is set in Omaha in 1986 and follows the two sixteen-year-olds, Eleanor and Park, as they fall in love. Eleanor has a hard life, she considers herself unattractive and overweight and comes from a poor home with an abusive step-father. Park’s home-life is a lot better, with a Korean mother and a white father who make sure to kiss each other every day. He likes punk music, comic books and eyeliner. Eleanor and Park don’t like each other very much, until they do. 

Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.
– Goodreads

Like I said, I liked this a lot more than Fangirl. And I don’t usually read romance, so that was a surprise. I think what I liked so much about this was mainly the characters. I really loved Eleanor, in particular. The descriptions of her and what she’s wearing really stood out to me so that she materialized very clearly in my head. I also really enjoyed reading about her sad and chaotic home-life, it reminded me of Shameless, my favorite TV show. Angst is fuel to my soul, so I liked that. 

Park is also a good character. I liked his venture into starting to wear eyeliner to school despite his father being so against it that he refused to speak to him. 

The romance was really sweet. It might seem that they fall for each other out of the blue, but I didn’t really mind that, because I could see a build-up. There was also a build-up in the relationship itself, I don’t know how long it took before they even dared to kiss, but it was a while. Everything about it is just sweet and innocent and adorkable. 

This book does contains teens having sex (not graphic or descriptive) and swearing. To me that’s perfectly fine, but I’m just putting it out there. 

The ending is bittersweet, most definitely. I’d heard that before I started reading it, which is one of the reasons I picked it up. Sugar-sweet happily-ever-rafter romance books don’t appeal to me in the slightest, so Eleanor & Park was perfect for me in that sense. 

That said, I wouldn’t say no to a sequel that takes place when they’re both like 27 years old. 

eleanor and park
Have you read it? What do you think? 
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Top Ten Tuesday | New-to-me authors read in 2015

top ten tuesday

This weekly meme was was created by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme is “Top Ten New-To-Me Favorite Authors I Read For The First Time In 2015“. I still have some new-to-me authors to finish off December with, but we’ll see what I can make of this post. 

I ended up making this a top 7, because a lot of the other new-to-me authors ended up being more on the meh side. 

These will be in no particular order. 

1. Patrick Ness

Patrick NessThis one is a no-brainer if you’ve read anything on my blog before. I’ve become obsessed with Ness’s storytelling and I can’t wait to finally read Monsters of Men, it’s standing in my shelf looking at me. The first book by him that I picked up was The Knife of Never Letting Go [my review], and I listened to it on audiobook, which was a great choice because the narrator is amazing. 

 


2. Victoria Schwab

Victoria SchwabAnother no-brainer if you’ve read my blog Vbefore. I rave about Vicious [my review] all the time. I inhaled the entire book in one sitting in June. I’m so excited about the sequel that I just asdfghj. I’m halfway through A Darker Shade of Magic and unfortunately it’s not grabbing me as much as Vicious, but I’ll read it til the end and see what I think.

 

 

 


3.Gillian Flynn

Gillian FlynnI’ve been hearing about Flynn’s books for a long time, but I only sat down with Gone Girl this summer and I loved it. I own several of her other books and I really need to get to them.

 

 

 

 

 

Continue reading

2016 Dystopia Reading Challenge

Hello, guys! I’ve decided I’m going to join the 2016 Dystopia Reading Challenge hosted by Tracy from Cornerfolds and Claudia from My Soul Called LifeI love dystopian books and I have so many on my TBR that I need to read so I might as well join this challenge in the hopes that it’ll kick my butt into gear. 
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There are four different challenge levels depending on how many books you read, and while I hope I can get to Leader (16+ books) I’m going to lower the pressure and say let’s aim for Rebel (6-10) books to begin with. 
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Challenge Guidelines

  • This challenge will run from January 1, 2016 – December 31, 2016.
  • You can join at anytime before October 15, 2016.
  • Books must be read and reviewed in 2016.
  • Audiobooks, re-reads, short stories, and crossovers are fine.
  • You don’t have to be a book blogger to participate! You can track your progress on Goodreads, Shelfari, Booklikes, etc.
  • Sign up on the designated Linky [over at Cornerfolds] with your post, shelf, etc. and leave a comment letting us know what your personal goal is. 
  • Link up your reviews each month via the provided Linky [over at Cornerfolds]!

Challenge Update Schedule

  • March 25th – First Quarter Update & Giveaway
  • June 24th – Second Quarter Update & Giveaway
  • September 30th – Third Quarter Update & Giveaway
  • December 30th – Challenge Wrap-Up & Giveaway

Check out the original challenge posts for more information! 


Here are some of the books I might read for this challenge. I can’t promise I will start and/or finish all of these, it’s just a tentative list. And I will no doubt discover new dystopias in 2016 that I’ll choose to read. I’ll also gladly take suggestions 😀

dystopia reading challengeShatter Me  | Daughter of Smoke & Bone * | Lockdown | Red Rising An Ember in the AshesBeauty Queens |  Unwind172 Hours on the MoonLegend Angelfall | 

* Someone answered my question on Twitter about Daughter of Smoke & Bone right when I finished making this picture, saying it’s not really a dystopian novel, so I won’t count it. I’ll still read it in 2016 though. 

Can the rest of these be counted as dystopian novels? You tell me, I’m just going by what I’ve heard or what they’re listed as on Goodreads. I guess I’ll figure that out as I read them. 

I picked 172 Hours on the Moon because it’s Norwegian and I haven’t read any Norwegian sci-fi or dystopias before, so that’s going to be interesting. It’s also been ages since I read an actual book in Norwegian. 

Are you joining this challenge? What dystopian books should I read in 2016? Do you know of any 2016 releases that seem good? Do tell! 

The Pastry Book Tag

I was tagged a while ago by Trisha Ann @ The Bookgasm, thank you for that 😀 I don’t even know what half of these pastries are hahaha. 

CROISSANT: NAME A POPULAR BOOK OR SERIES THAT EVERYONE (INCLUDING YOU) LOVES

17372039Does anyone pick anything other than Harry Potter for this one? It’s the only series I can think of that almost mostly everyone will at least like, if not love. 

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MACARONS: NAME A BOOK THAT WAS HARD TO GET THROUGH BUT WORTH IT IN THE END

6794Cloud Atlas. It’s almost impossible to explain this book if you haven’t read it or seen the movie, but basically it’s several short stories woven into one. All the short stories are different genres and take place in different time periods, but somehow they’re all linked. Some of them are a bit hard to read, but it’s really interesting. 

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VOL-AU-VENT: NAME A BOOK THAT YOU THOUGHT WILL BE AMAZING BUT FELL FLAT

12973964Cinder. It was an okay book, but I’d hoped for more of an oomph. The world-building was poor and did Prince Kai have a memorable personality? Eh, don’t know. I might read the second book if I feel like it. 

 

 

 

PAIN-AU-CHOCOLAT: NAME A BOOK THAT YOU THOUGH WOULD BE ONE THING BUT TURNED OUT TO BE SOMETHING ELSE

9460487Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children. I mention this book a lot so most of you probably already know how I feel about it, but I wanted creepy ghost children. I wanted creepiness overall, but there was none. Sigh. 

 

 

 

PROFITEROLE: NAME A BOOK OR SERIES THAT DOESN’T GET ENOUGH ATTENTION

                                    17262303     13638125

I’m only speaking for people who don’t pay attention to book blogs or twitters or youtube channels etc., because both these authors get plenty attention from us. V.E. Schwab and Patrick Ness both need to be in the bookstores where I live, why aren’t they??? Ugh. Especially Vicious and More Than This. 

CROQUEMBOUCHE: NAME A BOOK OR SERIES THAT’S COMPLETELY COMPLEX

13496A Song of Ice and Fire. I haven’t yet read anything that’s more complex than this series. 

 

 

 

 

NAPOLEON: NAME A MOVIE OR TV SHOW BASED OFF A BOOK THAT YOU LIKED BETTER THAN THE BOOK ITSELF

6148028I liked the book, but I enjoyed the Catching Fire movie a lot more than the book for some reason. It’s my favorite movie in the series. 

 

 

 

 

EMPANADA: NAME A BOOK THAT WAS BITTERSWEET

7260188Mockingjay. That ending is definitely bittersweet in my interpretation. 

 

 

 

 

KOLOMPEH: NAME A BOOK OR SERIES THAT TAKES PLACE SOMEWHERE OTHER THAN YOUR OWN COUNTRY

239272That’s pretty much every book that’s not Norwegian. I’ll pick a book that takes place somewhere that’s not in the US or the UK, to make it more interesting. Things Fall Apart, Nigeria. 

 

 

 

 

PATE-A-CHOUX: NAME A FOOD FROM A BOOK OR SERIES THAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO TRY

Basically anything from Harry Potter. All the delicious and weird candy. Take me to Honeydukes. 


 

Since I haven’t been around in a while I don’t know who’s done this tag recently and who haven’t, so I’ll just tag everyone who’s interested in doing it. Go on, I tag you. 

NaNoWriMo Wrap-Up

I am back from hibernation! Aka NaNoWriMo is over and I can finally get back to reading and blogging. 

For some reason I had a really hard time writing my story this year, even though I was excited about the plot. I guess it took too long to get to the point I was actually excited about in the first place. I reached that point like two days ago, so now it’s picking up. Typical. My story is supposed to be in three parts, and I’m only two chapters into the second part so I have a lot left. I reached 50k though.

These are my stats this year:

nanowrimo

Looks better than last year.

My story this year is called With Bare Hands (working title) and is about a teenage rock band and their rise to fame and the complications that come with two of them being romantically involved. The band breaks up yada yada yada, we fast-forward three years into the future and take it up from there. 

While I was gone I see that there’s been a layout change in WordPress. I don’t know how I feel about that, but maybe it’s become easier to align pictures? Let’s hope so. 

Anyway, how did NaNoWriMo go for you guys? Did you reach 50k? Did you finish your story? Tell me all about your writing experience.