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So uh… I went to another library sale | Book Haul #17

As the title says, I went to another one. 😛 Aaaaand there’s yet another one nearby this coming weekend. I’m going to try really hard to stay away, haha.

But I got a lot of books – some from that sale, some from Half Price Books, some bought out-right. 😛 Heeeeere we go.


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So, each one of these I’m very excited for…. and each one of these (aside from the ones I’ve already read, will likely take me a while to get to. I’ve reached the ‘I realize I have a problem’ epiphany. So I’m going to uh… attempt a ban? I guess? I’m not sure how I wanna go about it yet. I’ve done the read-5-buy-1 and it didn’t stick, I’ve gone cold turkey and it didn’t stick… so I’m not sure how to go about it, hyuck. Do let me know if you have any ideas that will be easier on my very undisciplined self-discipline. 😛

But if you’ve been planning on reading any of these, do let me know. :”D I’d love to do a buddy read!

 
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Posted by on 05/17/2017 in Book Haul, Books, Uncategorized

 

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A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J Maas | Blabber

A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #3)A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J Maas
705 pages
Hardback
Read May 2 – May 13, 2017
A Court of Thorns and Roses, book 3
Spoiler-free blabber (for this book – possible spoilers for the first two books)


Reading this book allowed me to see what I like about Sarah J Maas’s books and what I don’t. I buzzed through the first two books in this series back in January and had been chewing at the bit for this one for a few months. I pre-ordered it, even – something I tend not to do unless the book is super special or signed or somethin’. But after coming off the buzz of A Court of Mist and Fury, I was super-eager for this one. I had rated that book five stars, but now looking back, there were issues in it that I had been blind to originally. I’m not changing the rating on that though – I loved it at the time and I still love it, but this latest book has pointed out some flaws in the series as a whole. Unfortunately these flaws were more apparent to me this time around than during the second book.

I’ll start with what I like about this book and this series as a whole:

Sarah J Maas’s writing is compelling – I also have issues with it but I’ll get to that later – but really, she can write a good, juicy, fast-paced story. I devour her books. They’re so much fun to read, so easy to fly through. The world she sets up takes a bit of time to develop, but I kinda fell in love with it. I wanna go see Velaris, people.

Her characters are good as well – the side characters at least. The main characters are alright – I don’t dislike them, I just find them a tad irksome. But the side characters I really like. Meaning, I’m very much looking forward to the continuation of these series bases on these characters. Maas is also really good at getting the reader (ie: me) to change opinions on characters from chapter to chapter. Some chapters, I hated Tamlin, others I felt sorry for him, others I liked him. Same with Feyre – my feelings towards her character are all over the place. But I really like that – that my mind isn’t set on ‘this character is this way and this is what I think’ like a stone. The variability of my perception just goes to show the characters themselves have more than one personality trait – that they’re actually developing throughout the series (woo!).

The plot I think, is neat too. It hopped from Beauty and the Beast in book one to Hades and Persephone in book two to… what? Was there a fairy tale entwined in book three? I have no idea, but pulling all the plot points together was really neat. Across these three books, so much happened, so much more than one over-arching plot, and I really dug it.

So as much as I liked the plot, the characters and the compelling writing of this book, I also had a laundry list of little ‘ehhh’ things that popped into my periphery while reading it:

First and foremost is Maas’s writing. Like I said above, she’s really good at keeping a fast pace and moving the story along but at the same time, her writing is rather uh… convenient, I guess is the best word to describe it. And maybe this is a strange complaint, but everything seemed to have its place in this book. All the characters kinda paired off, characters that had been alluded to throughout the series showed up at just the right time due to happenstance… It was just strange. The use of the blatant plot device, people: It’s in this book.

Second is Maas’s writing. By this I mean the inconsistency in communication. Okay, I get that Rhys and Feyre communicate via thought using the mating bond. That, sure, that’s fine. Buuuuut, there were so many times that Maas would write Feyre having full sentence communication with other characters by conveying meaning through their eyes. Like, seriously – she’d be all ‘Amrens eyes said ‘maybe we can try this thing that is a really complex idea together with two of us instead of four of us like I had planned. Totally telling you this by staring at you by the way”. It was weird. If at some point it had been pointed out that in this world that eyeballs could convey full messages to each other, then I’d be fine with it. But apparently everyone’s vision marbles are shouting things at each other throughout this whole book. Unsaid communication that nobody ever misinterpreted ever was a very common thing in this book, and it was weird. And eyeballs did so many things too – they burned, they glinted, they screamed, they did all sorts of stuff that eyeballs shouldn’t do, at least things that wouldn’t be able to be picked up by another living being via just looking at somebody. I want to have a deep and meaningful conversation on battle strategy via looking at someone. That would be neat, and I’m jealous I can’t do that while these people somehow can. 😛

The final, and honestly most goofy thing is Maas’s writing. By this, I mean sex scenes. The vocabulary used in these sex scenes had me in hysterics. So, I guess this could be a positive trait about these? I guess? I mean, if you’re looking to read about a couple boning and want to laugh hysterically while you’re doing it, then it’s definitely a good thing. If you’re after an actual love scene though that’s not funny and all but instead steamy or whatever adjective you wanna assign to it, you’re gonna be out of luck.

Because of the amount of boning in this book (which… isn’t as much as I was expecting, honestly. So go you, Maas), I’ve take the liberty of creating a list of things not to do while writing a sex scene:

  • Don’t use the word ‘sheathing’ when referring to intercourse. A vagina is not a sheath. A penis isn’t a sword.
  • Don’t use the word ‘sheathing’ more than once within the same paragraph.
  • Don’t say that breasts ‘tighten’ in anticipation. If you experience this, you should see a doctor. Nipples perk out? Sure. But if your whole boob just yells ‘ATTENTION’, then that’s a medical issue.
  • Please please come up with more than one way of letting a reader know a character is turned on. If I have to read about curling toes one more time, man…
  • At no point should your character ever ever ‘feel like a moonbeam’. What does that even mean.

So, if you’re in the middle of writing a novel that calls for a nice love scene, just follow these five easy steps to keep your reader from laughing and then getting their SO to dramatically read the passage out-loud as if it was a performance piece. I mention this because I totally did it and it was so so very entertaining.

So while Maas’s sex scenes aren’t the best, they’re still amusing to read. Whether or not she intended them that way, I have no idea, but the fact that I was still enjoying myself while reading them means they didn’t really take away from my overall rating of the book. They just made me attribute this book to being super silly at times.


Overall, I enjoyed this book. I didn’t love it I don’t think, but it was a nice, fun, (sometimes probably unintentionally funny) read. I like the series as a whole and I think this book was a nice, fitting ending to the trilogy. Endings are make-or-break for me, and this one handled loose strings rather cleanly (sometimes… too cleanly, but then again, it’s a weird complaint). I liked it. I’m very much looking forward to the companion books for this trilogy and will likely gobble them up when they come out (even if the word ‘sheathing’ is present in there, yeesh).

Rating: 4/5 stars

 
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Posted by on 05/14/2017 in Books, Review

 

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The Mad Ship by Robin Hobb | Blabber

The Mad Ship (Liveship Traders, #2)The Mad Ship by Robin Hobb
850 pages, mass market paperback
Read Feb 23 – May 7, 2016
Book two in the Liveship Traders trilogy
Spoilery Blabber

“Tomorrow owes you the sum of your yesterdays. No more than that. And no less.”

Every time I read a Robin Hobb book – this is the fifth one I’ve buzzed through now – I get an emotional hangover. This series in particular, I’d even call it an emotional flu.

Since this is a spoilery blabber, I’m going to assume if you’re here you’ve either read it already or don’t care about being spoiled. I’m also going to assume you already know the premise of the series. I’m also going to just write a bunch of thoughts out – this is not a ‘coherent review’. 😛

This book picks up where the last left off – the returning characters are just as despicable and wonderful as before. I grew to like characters I disliked before… and really really hate characters I already hated. Hah.

So the main theme of this book is obviously character development. Sorely, sorely needed character development. And it was wonderful.

Robin Hobb is really good at writing awful characters. I don’t mean awful as in badly written, I mean awful as in I hate them. They feel like real people but they are not people I would get along with. Kennit for instance. That bastard. Never have I despised a character so much that I actually would get angry while reading from their POV. If that isn’t a well-designed character then I don’t know what is.

I hope in book three, Kennit gets knocked down a few pegs. Seriously. So far he’s managed to manipulate Etta, Vivacia and now even Wintrow to his will. Gaaah I want someone to see through his bullshit so badly. He needs good, solid punch to the face.

Another character that went through a lot of character development, but in a positive direction instead of negative was Malta. It’s unfortunate that the loss of her father was what had to trigger it, but it really woke her up to the world around her. Towards the end of the book especially, I really loved her. Her snaps at the satrap were just fantastic. (I hate him too, so it was lovely). It was such a complete turn-around from her character in the first book, which seriously irritated me. I like Reyn too – he’s a decent fella.

This book I noticed spent about as much time away from the liveships as it did with them – about half the POVs weren’t anywhere near the water – it really lent to the largeness of the plot and all of the interesting subplots that I know are going to come together in book three. I seriously liked this book, especially towards the end. I reached an ‘AHHHHH’ moment and kinda buzzed through the ending (after…. taking a two day break to finish my coding project. You have NO IDEA how hard it is to reach the AHHHH part in a book and then put it down to do important schooly things, bleh)

All the subplots are starting to wind together at this point – we now know why it kept jumping to a bit of eel-y things in the water and why some of them seem sentient and others don’t. There’s a dragon flyin’ around and Paragon, darling Paragon, has developed a sense of multiple selves. Paragon I think is my favorite character in this series – he’s just so amusing, I wanna hug him. Granted, he’d likely either punch me in the face or cry hysterically or hug me back. It would really be up in the air. I think that’s why I like his character so much – he’s so out of character all the time that everything is in character. It’s neato. :”D

I will say though – and it’s a thing that I mentioned above – that this book is tiring. It’s so emotionally saturated that it becomes a chore to read it. Not because it’s bad, but because just so much heavy stuff happens to the Vestrit family, I kinda get worn out just reading about it, yeesh.

Rating: 4/5 stars


So yes, overall I dug this book. Made me feel droopy though. And my thoughts, as you can see, aren’t really coherent, hence a spoilery blabber instead of a non-spoilery review. :”D I’m thinking I”ll do a trilogy review on the whole thing once I finish the third book – that one will spoiler-free and more uh… readable instead of a bunch of tangent-thoughts, hawhaw.

Happy reading!

 
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Posted by on 05/09/2017 in Books, Review

 

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The Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson | Blabber

The Traitor Baru CormorantThe Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson
Read Feb 7 – Apr 19, 2017
Geopolitical Fantasy
399 pages
Spoiler-free blabber


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“This is the truth. You will know it because it hurts.”

The Traitor Baru Cormorant is a book that you’ll either love or you’ll hate. A geopolitical fantasy set in a land controlled by a distant empire, it follows Baru, a young woman whose home is made victim of the power that empire holds. As a child, she vows revenge for her country and her family, and sets herself to tear down the nation from within.

The cover of this book, while striking on its own, is one of the most poignant covers I’ve seen when it comes to conveying the tone of a book. As a reader, you follow Baru as she enters into the realm of the enemy, manipulates her way through by cold, calculating precision. The main character is a savant for accounting, numbers, tactics. She plants herself in the middle of a rivalry of dukes, all of whom are overshadowed by the looming Masquerade, the empire that controls them all.

This is my first experience reading fantasy where the only thing fantastical about it is the names of the countries. No magic, no creatures… just a world different from ours, under a type of control that is eerily resonant at times. The Empire of Masks rules over the duchies of Aurdwynn and has imposed upon them their own rules, including those of ‘racial hygeine’.

Under the Mask, marriages must be genetically beneficial and those lands who participate ‘unhygienic practices’ must be accounted for and corrected. Baru comes from such a place – the story begins with her at home, Taranoke, living with her mother and two fathers. The Mask sweeps into Taranoke, one of Baru’s fathers is taken away and Baru herself is placed in a learning facility to learn to stay away from anything The Mask deems as sinful: sodomy, tribadism, genetically inferior breeding… all of these, The Mask seeks to eliminate by whatever means necessary.

Throughout this process, she remembers what the Mask did to her home and family.

This is one of those books that lulls you into a false sense of security, allows you to believe that you understand what’s going on and then yanks the rug out from underneath you. You see Baru’s mind as she forms plots and plans to best manipulate those around her to achieve her goal of reclaiming Taranoke. You read, you see the awfulness the Mask has created and you root for Baru… but at the same time…

The author, Seth Dickinson, is a bit of a wordsmith, but his writing style alone for this book is a tad strange. Told from Baru’s point of view, it goes into battles and hidden politics that Baru herself doesn’t see, so you as the reader sometimes only get descriptions of occurrences instead of actually seeing those occurrences through scenes. It definitely took me a bit to get into – the writing at times adopts the ‘tell’ method instead of the ‘show’, but it does that because it’s what Baru herself experiences. The writing becomes a bit more showy later in the book when Baru starts witnessing events herself, but early on it is a bit mechanic. Don’t let that dissuade you though. The endgame is totally worth the wait.

But I mentioned Dickinson being a wordsmith, and then went into mechanical writing. Whoops. The reason I mention his way with words though is because despite the overall writing at times being bit difficult, there are so many beautiful phrases and memorable quotes littered throughout the book. About half way through, I started keeping track of them and had to go back and poke through the ealier pages to find more:

“Freedom granted by your rulers is just a chain with a little slack.”

“Her fury had nothing else to eat and so it began to eat her.”

“Understood what the books and the generals always repeated: that armies did not kill each other, they broke each other, that the day would be won when one army believed it could not survive. A matter of deception, of conviction, of lies made true through performance. Like everything else.”

And there are so, so many more. Reading this book at times is like reading poetry made into war and betrayal. I really loved this book, despite my small gripes with the writing. It’s thought-provoking, it’s complex, it’s poignant…

And that bolded phrase at the top of this review? It’s the opening line to the book. And really, it’s the most perfect line that could have been there. At the end of the book, you’ll flip back to the front and just stare at that opening line for a while, thinking about what you just read. I know I did.

Rating: 5/5 stars

 
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Posted by on 04/19/2017 in Books, Review

 

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Unpopular Opinions Book Tag v2

Hello, I decided I wanted to make a post today so I found something to post about. I first did this tag about a year and a half ago so I’m going to do any updated version. Check out the original if you want to see ‘new blog Emily’ writing about stuff. Otherwise, stay here for old blog Emily.


A popular book or series that you didn’t like

Addicted to You (Addicted, #1)I’ve mentioned I disliked this quite a few times now, so it shouldn’t be surprising. The Addicted series by Becca and Krista Ritchie. Not a fan. I wrote a full review on the first book if you’re interested but long story short: I felt like I was reading about two addictions interacting, not two people with addictions.

 

 

A popular book or series that every one else seems to hate but you love

A Great and Terrible Beauty (Gemma Doyle, #1)I’m going with the Gemma Doyle trilogy by Libba Bray. I supposed ‘hated’ is a strong word for this one, but it definitely has its anti-fans. I read this series back when I was a teenager and adored it. Since, I’ve seen people try to read it and stop after the first book. But hey, it either jives with you or it doesn’t. At least they tried it.

 

 

 

A love triangle where the main character ended up with the person you did NOT want them to end up with (warn ppl for spoilers) OR an OTP that you don’t like

InuYasha: Turning Back Time (InuYasha, #1)(By the way, Past Emily has a bunch of weird capitalization shit going on that Present Emily is weirded out by. I just thought you should now how much I’m editing these questions to make them normal looking…)

I think this might be one of my only actually unpopular opinions. I’m going with Inuyasha and Kagome from Inuyasha by Rumiko Takahashi. It’s not that I don’t like them or anything… it’s just I totally ship Kagome in a non-canonical pairing. Hawhawhaw. SessxKag 4eva.

 

A popular book genre that you hardly reach for

Thriller, true crime, westerns, romance, contemporary, middle grade… there are a lot that… just don’t do much for me. Not saying I never read them but I tend to stay away.

A popular or beloved character that you do not like

Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1)Celaena Sardothien from Sarah J Maas’s Throne of Glass series. I’m only through Heir of Fire at the moment so no spoilers please. But seriously, this girl grinds my gears.

 

 

 

 

A popular author that you can’t seem to get into

A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, #1)My answer for this last time was Sarah J Maas, but lo and behold, one of her books is now on my favorites list. Hey, I’ll eat my words. So this time around I’m going to go with George R. R. Martin. And this is a weird choice because I’ve read four of his books and am currently reading the fifth one. I love the story but at the same time I can’t get into the books. I like the books but they’re so difficult and it’s almost a chore to read them. Why am I reading them? So I can be one of those people who watch the show and say ‘Buh the book was better’… even though I’m finding out I like the tv show much better, hahaha. Sue me.

 

A popular book trope that you’re tired of seeing. (examples “lost princess”, corrupt ruler, love triangles, etc.)

Mean girls. Honestly, what’s the point. This is probably the biggest reason I don’t go into contemporary too often. I’ve heard it’s getting better, but I’ve read one too many stories about a quirky but otherwise bland protagonist dealing with a pretty girl that’s mean to her just because. Like, that’s the whole character. “Hi I’m so and so and my dominant personality trait is being awful”. It sends a bad message to young girls reading these kind of books saying that you’re either pretty or nice but you can’t be both. Seriously. Or that if you’re average or below that you’re automatically the nicest person ever. No, we need real personalities represented. Pretty people can be nice, average people can be assholes, and there are so many mixes in between that stereotyping them as one or the other is completely ridiculous.

A popular series that you have no interest in reading

Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss, #1)I hesitate to say ‘never’ anymore, since last time my answer was Throne of Glass but I’ve since read the thing. Same goes for my Top 5 Wednesday post of ‘Books I’ll Never Read‘. I’ve read two of them now, haha.

Sooo, with a big ‘Most likely will not read it’ being emphasized here I’m going to say the Anna and the French Kiss companion series by Stephanie Perkins. Mainly this is due to the fact that I used to have one of these books and have since gotten rid of it from disinterest. The reason for that is that I heard the main relationship in the first book stems from cheating, which I want no part in reading about. Not interested.

Plus, my sister’s name is Anna. I don’t wanna read about her kissin’ nobody.

The saying goes “The book is always better than the movie”, but what movie or T.V. show adaptation do you prefer more than the book?

A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, #1)As mentioned above, George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series. Martin is a great story teller, but sometimes muddling through his writing is like pulling teeth.

 

 

 

 

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And that’s it. :”D I have a feeling my opinions are not so unpopular, but at least they’re unpopular to me! 😀 Wait…

 
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Posted by on 03/21/2017 in Book Tag, Books

 

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February Book Haul | #15

Once again, I’ve proved that I might be slightly addicted to the rush of buying books. In my defense, two of these were souvenirs from a road trip this month and one of them I actually got back in December and just never hauled. So there. That makes it better, right? RIGHT?


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Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson – This is the December book. I bought it when I was in Malaysia – my friend there and I went book shopping together and she bought the first book in one of my favorite series and I bought the first book in one of hers… she has since binged the entire series that she bought, reading farther than I have, and I have yet to even start this one. You can see it’s still in plastic wrap, hawhaw. (All the books there were – it was interesting). I’ve heard this book is very dense but very good. I hope to read it soon. 😀

The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K Le Guin – This author popped onto my radar after she released to giant anthologies of short stories recently. I found out that she’s one of the classic sci-fi writers and I kinda scolded myself for never having heard of her before. So when I was away in Connecticut a couple weeks ago, we were in a book shop and I spotted this on the shelves. I figured it would be a good place to start. Apparently this is the fourth book in a set universe of hers, but the books don’t need to be read in publication order. So go me, I almost messed up. Very excited for this one!

Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch – I’ve actually already read this one. Did so as a library book though, so when I saw a cheapo copy I nabbed it. Will eventually get the rest. Still need to read the third one.

The Heart of Betrayal and The Beauty of Darkness by Mary E Pearson – I made a bookoutlet purchase last month and these two books inspired it. I’m currently buddy-reading the second book and will likely move into the third afterward, finishing the series. I’m rather enjoying it so far.

Twelves Kings of Sharakhai by Bradley P Beaulieu – This one was a big of an impulse-buy. It’s been floating on my radar for a month or two now and when it showed up on bookoutlet in paperback I added it to my cart. Gotta make the shipping worth it, yo. Very much looking forward to this one too, I’ve heard good things about it. :”D

Truthwitch by Susan Dennard – I AM JUMPING ON THIS BANDWAGON, DAMMIT. THAT IS ALL I HAVE TO SAY.

The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell – This is the other souvenir book I bought while in connecticut. It was on clearance! Six bucks for this hard-back beauty. ….I now own three Mitchell books and have yet to read any of them. :”D

The Broken Eye by Brent Weeks – my current obsession is this series. I’m about half way through the second book and will likely pick this one up soon after. I’ve been looking for the first book in hard cover now and can’t seem to find it. Only paperback. If you know where I can get a hard cover, do let me know. Thanks. :”D


And that’s it! I hope… I hope next month won’t be as bad, hawhaw. But I know I’m already planning a HPB trip for the 16th, namely to take my Dad, who has never been there. Wish me luck and self-discipline. Happy reading!

 
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Posted by on 03/04/2017 in Book Haul, Books

 

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Top 5 Tiring Book Trends

Top 5 Wednesday

It’s Wednesday!

Image result for hump day wop wop

I’m never going to get tired of that camel.


This week’s topics are trends I’m tired of seeing in books. Not talking just tropes, but also like trends focused around books, if that makes sense. Anyways, if you’d like to join T5W, here is the link to do so.

5. “The ______’s Daughter”, “The Girl with/on ______”, “The ______’s Wife”

This title trend, man. It’s everywhere, I’m sure you’ve seen it. I’m not knocking any of the books who have these kinds of names, just the names themselves. They’re. Everywhere. I think my first and third examples particularly are troubling. Obviously, the book is about the girl, but the girl isn’t being described as herself, they’re being described as ‘important because they’re related to this other person’. The second I think is just plain overused. 😛 Haw.

4. Releasing paperbacks months after the hardbacks

I am a paperback person. I love paperbacks. I’ll read hardbacks, but paperbacks are my babies. In the US at least, a book is released and it’s only available in hardback for months, sometimes a year before the paperback is released. Kind of hard to keep up with a series that way as I’m one of those ‘must buy all books in same edition’ people. So I can end up doing two things. 1. Bite the bullet and buy them in hardback, which is expensive. 2 Buy them in paperback, choosing to either wait a year to read them or borrow the hardback from the library and then later buying when the paperback is released. Both methods, they mess with my feng shui. Seriously. They’re my paperbacks and I want them now! D:

3. False stand-alone advertisement

This isn’t a huge epidemic or anything I suppose, but I’ve run into it two or three times now. A new book, advertised as a stand-alone is released! Great! I buy it, I read it! But guess what! Cliffhanger at the end! Not a stand-alone, nope nope. I’m invested in a new series now, dammit. I was not ready for this baggage, I was not ready for this responsibility. I didn’t sign up for this! But I need to finish it because I like it, dammit.

Huff.

2. Cover changes

I don’t really need to explain this one, do I?

1. “I’m not like other girls” girl

This one actually has been getting a lot better recently. I’ve seen a huge decline in this trope in books. I feel like there’s been enough reader push-back against it that authors have started actually listening. A lot of us scream for strong female friendships, for women with more than one dimension to them, for characters that defy gender norms without putting those down who choose not to. I love it!

But let me tell you what son, every so often this trope slips into a book and when I come across it, I crack. It needs to go away.

 
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Posted by on 02/08/2017 in Books, Top 5 Wednesday

 

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