Friday Thoughts: Book Quotes I Love

We all have those book quotes that we come across and want to write down and remember forever. These are some of mine:

“You’ve got words in your soul.”
Jay Kristoff, Nevernight

“Libraries were full of ideas–perhaps the most dangerous and powerful of all weapons.”
Sarah J. Maas, Throne of Glass

“Names are not important. It’s what lies inside of you that matters.”
Sarah J. Maas, Throne of Glass

“Why do we write fiction?” Professor Piper asked.
Cath looked down at her notebook.
To disappear.”
Rainbow Rowell, Fangirl

“Have you ever asked yourself, do monsters make war, or does war make monsters?”
Laini Taylor, Daughter of Smoke & Bone

“It is a condition of monsters that they do not perceive themselves as such. The dragon, you know, hunkered in the village devouring maidens, heard the townsfolk cry ‘Monster!’ and looked behind him.”
Laini Taylor, Daughter of Smoke & Bone

“You’re a storyteller. Dream up something wild and improbable,” she pleaded. “Something beautiful and full of monsters.”
“Beautiful and full of monsters?”
“All the best stories are.”
Laini Taylor, Strange the Dreamer

“I’m not going to die,” she said. “Not till I’ve seen it.”
“Seen what?”
Her smile widened. “Everything.”
V.E. Schwab, A Darker Shade of Magic

“Scars are not shameful, not unless you let them be. If you do not wear them, they will wear you.”
V.E. Schwab, A Conjuring of Light

“The soul was a fragile traveller.”
― Maggie Stiefvater, Blue Lily Lily Blue

“Dreams are to be classified as weapons.”
― Maggie Stiefvater, The Raven King

“Stories are wild creatures, the monster said. When you let them loose, who knows what havoc they may wreck?”
Patrick Ness, A Monster Calls

And these are only a selection of my favourites. I keep a notebook filled with my favourite lines from everything I read so I can go back and look them over sometimes.

What are your favourite quotes?

Strange the Dreamer, Laini Taylor

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The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around—and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance or lose his dream forever.
What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?
The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries—including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo’s dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? And if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?

Over two years ago, I wrote a review for Laini Taylor’s other series Daughter of Smoke and Bone. It was, actually, the first book review I ever did on this blog (wow, have I improved since then) and I stand by my thoughts back then; Laini Taylor is a stunning writer and her stories are always filled with magic and mystery and everything I love.

But the thing was… this book was dull. Not dull in a completely boring way, but dull enough that I couldn’t sit and read it all in only a few sittings. In fact, I read two chapters, then put it down for the day. And I don’t read well like that. If I have a book that I really like, I read it all in one day (or never!)

I was expecting it to be slow; after all, DoSaB isn’t exactly a fast read. Laini’s books have always been about the writing and watching the story uncurl along with the pages. But there is a leap. With her other series, there is always something happening. With this series… nothing happens for pages and pages, then it gets interesting, then it gets boring again.

I’m admitting this now – I am writing this review while just over half way through. Because its taken me over two weeks to get to this point, and I don’t know right now if I want to continue. Because I already know it turns into a romance and… I kinda don’t want it to?

Like, don’t get me wrong. I adore Lazlo, our adorable main character. I understand him more than I do with most other characters in books- like him, I spent my childhood stuck in the clouds (until I was told to grow up) and like him I ended up surrounded by books but mostly in love with fairytales. And like him, people laugh at me for it (no really, I was ordering a copy of Peter Pan for a customer at work and when I told them what edition I have – this stunning, like, pop up version for adults – they sneered at me and went ‘Well you’ve had that for years, I expect’ and I was like… no since last year at which point they went ‘You’re an adult so why are you buying childrens books like that’). I also love that its his love and knowledge of those tales that ‘save the day’ essentially.

I even like Sarai and her little gang of mini-gods. Their chapters were some of my favourites – I loved their interactions and seeing their powers, and I loved Sarai’s longing for the world below them.

However, once you got the hint that these two would end up as love interests… it kinda put me off slightly.

The writing, the backstory, the whole book (of what I’ve read) is stunning. It’s lyrical and beautiful and just like the title, it reads like a dream. I’ve never read anything as beautiful as Laini’s words.

So it is wonderful, it really is. But I just got bored. Maybe it’s because I wasn’t in the mood when I started it. Maybe I had been waiting for it so long that once I had it, it was always going to be ‘eh’. I don’t know. I just don’t really mind not finishing it – and thats kind of heartbreaking when I did love the characters and the idea behind it.

Who knows. Maybe I’ll try it again at some point.

THIS IS ACTUALLY 3.5 BUT LIKE, I CANT BE BOTHERED TO EDIT THE PICTURE.

three stars

Friday Thoughts: Mythical Creatures That should be Real

  1. DRAGONS.
    Yeah, sureeeee the world be be on fire and livestock and people will go missing but Dragons. Like, how cool would that be? To stumble across a dragon egg made of something that looks strangely like gold, and to watch it hatch and grow into an iridescent blue creature that could fly you around the world and make you feared by all your enemies (apparently in this idea, we are all in The Days of Old, where enemies were someone dueled at dawn)
  2. Leprechauns
    Because, lets face it, we live in a pretty dull and awful world, and what would make that better? Little beings who stored gold at the end of rainbows!
  3. The Niffler
    The little Niffler, who was clearly the real reason Fantastic Beasts was so amazing. Chaotic but lovable, I think even if only one of these little creatures existed, life would be much more entertaining.
  4. Kelpie
    Yeah I know they are meant to be deadly. Just like every other water creature, they want to lure you under a lake and drown you, or whatever, but seriously, I just like the idea of walking next to a lake or river and this great horse looking creature rising up from next to you. Plus, they are meant to be able to shapeshift into human form and life would be more fun if you had to play and which human looking thing wants to kill you today?
  5. Pegasus
    Because, just like Dragons, they have the ability to fly you anywhere which would be much cheaper than a plane or car. And who wouldn’t want a winged horse?!

…Basically, by the looks of it, if I had my way, the world would have been destroyed by mythical creatures…

What creatures do you think should exist?

Bright Smoke Cold Fire, Rosamund Hodge

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When the mysterious fog of the Ruining crept over the world, the living died and the dead rose. Only the walled city of Viyara was left untouched.
The heirs of the city’s most powerful—and warring—families, Mahyanai Romeo and Juliet Catresou share a love deeper than duty, honor, even life itself. But the magic laid on Juliet at birth compels her to punish the enemies of her clan—and Romeo has just killed her cousin Tybalt. Which means he must die.
Paris Catresou has always wanted to serve his family by guarding Juliet. But when his ward tries to escape her fate, magic goes terribly wrong—killing her and leaving Paris bound to Romeo. If he wants to discover the truth of what happened, Paris must delve deep into the city, ally with his worst enemy . . . and perhaps turn against his own clan.
Mahyanai Runajo just wants to protect her city—but she’s the only one who believes it’s in peril. In her desperate hunt for information, she accidentally pulls Juliet from the mouth of death—and finds herself bound to the bitter, angry girl. Runajo quickly discovers Juliet might be the one person who can help her recover the secret to saving Viyara.
Both pairs will find friendship where they least expect it. Both will find that Viyara holds more secrets and dangers than anyone ever expected. And outside the walls, death is waiting. . .

So I officially DNFed this book this morning. I haven’t picked it up on over two weeks, and couldn’t actually remember half of what was going on, so I pulled the bookmark out and left it on my pile of abandoned to wither away (Until I give them to charity)

I’m seriously disappointed. Hodge was one of my ‘instant buy’ authors before – to this day, Cruel Beauty is one of my favourite fairytale retellings. And while I knew, picking this one up, that it was Romeo and Juliet rather than a fairytale, I assumed it would have the same sort of idea, the dark tones and interesting take on a well known story.

Well, it was an interesting take. But it also fell flat on it’s face and failed.

I feel like she tried to do too much. Like she was waving this book in the air and screaming ‘not like other books’ determined to be just that. But it was confusing and weird and just strange, rather than interesting and wonderful.

And it just… didn’t make sense.

Granted, I don’t know R&J as well as I really should, due to the fact it is my least favourite Shakespeare play, but I know enough of it to read retellings to know the basic storyline.

But this was less of a retelling and more of a ‘I’ve taken their names and done a love on two sides of a war‘ and… not much else.

So… the city they lived in is the last city standing against weird zombie creatures. There was a group of women who dealt with this magic wall that kept them all safe, but the wall was failing. Inside the city were a bunch of different people- Basically loads of different cultures/religions all together (I couldn’t actually work out what they were meant to be?) One group had ‘The Juliet’ who was raised to sense injustice on her people and punish the crims. Another group had Romeo and of course, he ends up as a crim (by killing Tybalt) but she refuses to kill him and makes him her guardian but everything goes wrong.

She ends up dead-but-not and linked with some girl in this Magic Place and  Romeo ends up linked with another guy and both are trying to find out whats going on in the city.

That is literally the bare bones without much of the confusion but my god was it confusing.

And not fleshed out at all. Like, the world building was dodgy at best, and I had trouble keeping up with the whys and hows and whats. Maybe it was because she had too many main characters- and too many side characters- that I kept mixing up, and the weird logic (lack of) in their magical system.

I just… I’m actually struggling to write a proper review on this because
1) I just didnt care. at all, about any of the characters, the plot, anything.
2) I didn’t understand what was going on in it.
3) I was bored. 

Basically, it is a huge huge disappointment from someone who previously had such a wonderful way of telling stories and it’s actually put me off reading her books again.

two-stars

Friday Thoughts: Characters I wouldn’t want to Meet down a Dark Alley

Good characters, bad characters, sometimes favourite characters- there are always a few that, though you love them in books, you really really wouldn’t want to stumble upon them while on your own late at night.

  1. Kaz Brekker (Six of Crows)
    Okay okay I love Kaz? He is a brilliant character, a genius that would use his best friend as bait if it furthered his cause. Or money. And that’s why I wouldn’t actually want to meet him. In two books, we saw what he could do to his enemies, and how he was able to come out the other side. He is the kind of character you throw your purse in front of to distract him and creep away while he is catching all the money. Quite frankly, though Kaz is brilliant, I would never say that to his face, because if he was real, I think he would actually terrify me.
  2. Professor Umbridge (Harry Potter)
    well…. I say that, but unfortunately, we all come across Umbridge in our daily lives. Umbridge is the person who doesn’t like anyone being happy, who judges everyone for who they are and tries to punish them. (*carefully looks over at America*) That’s actually what I’ve always hated about her- she was the real villain in Potter, because she was the real character. Voldemort- an over the top baddie with a bad sense of smell, but Umbridge reminds everyone of the horror stories of their own villains.
  3. Celaena Sardothien (Throne of Glass)
    Again, love her so much and shes not even a baddie. But she is kinda intimidating, and since she hasn’t got the best moral compass in the world, I would really rather avoid her.
  4. The Sídhe (The Call)
    Like… don’t get me wrong, I love faeries and the badder, the better, but if these faeries existed there would be no way I would ever step foot in Ireland oh my god.
  5. Christian Gray (50 Shades)
    I feel like this one is self explanatory…

Who would yours be?

Caraval, Stephanie Garber

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Scarlett has never left the tiny island where she and her beloved sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval, the far-away, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show, are over.
But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.
Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But she nevertheless becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic with the other players in the game. And whether Caraval is real or not, she must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over, a dangerous domino effect of consequences is set off, and her sister disappears forever.

So I apparently really like books sent in circuses and carnivals and slightly weird placed like that? As my boss said, thats a pretty specific genre to read, but thankfully, there are plenty of books out there at the moment.

I count Caraval as one of those books, because despite it being set in an almost-town (I mean, it is pretty big) it travels around, has a head dude who makes all the rules and games, is full of magic and done for entertainment.

The thing about Caraval is that… the idea was brilliant, it was interesting but I wasn’t overly impressed with it. I can’t even put my finger on why- maybe because everything was good. But not amazing. It doesnt stand out from the crowd, to me.

The book design was beautiful. Not just the cover (though really, the covers- both US and UK- and just amazing) but the inside as well. In many books, if there are letters sent around to different characters, it’s just written in italics, but with this book, they were all styles to look like letters, complete with their own sets of handwriting, which made it slightly more personal and pretty.

The plot itself really interested me, along with the whole cast of characters. Main Character Scarlett, while annoying at times, is loyal and interesting, and completely different to her sister, Tella. It was nice to see a sibling friendship where they actually liked and protected each other.

The plot itself was what kept me going, despite the fact that many of the twists and turns were easy to guess early on. There was just enough hint of more that kept me interested in reading- like why Legend had dragged certain people into the game, and why he was doing it all anyway. And I’m interested enough in that to want to read the next book.

The problem was… everything else just let me down. The romance, I thought, was forced and predictable. I liked Julian, but I got annoyed that everything was about liking her- I thought they would have been better if they had stayed friends, especially when I didn’t get any feelings off the book itself. For a good love story, the reader has to feel it too, has to fall in love with the Love Interest as the Main does. And yeah, Julian was okay, but I didn’t care. Not about him, not about her, not about them together and I really really didn’t care when one particular twist happened. I actually had to read the page twice to make sure I hadn’t missed something because I just didn’t care.

And then when the next meant-to-be *gasp* moment happened, pages later, I cared even less. I had been reading this whole book waiting for Scarlett to find her sister and this big thing happens and I was left like… meh.

It was more the characters than the writing- because the writing was great. It was because the characters didn’t develop at all. There was no incentive to care about them, or if they all got out the story alive.

So I will be reading the next book- because I do want to see what happens and if the author improves, but I’ll be reading it for the world and the magic much more than I will be for any of the characters.

three stars

Friday Thoughts: Five Characters I would Sell my Soul to Meet

We all have them. Those characters that wriggle under our skin and stay there long after we leave their books gathering dust on the shelves. The ones we imagine meeting, wondering if they would like you, kill you, or adopt you (and vise vera).

So these are my top five (though I would most likely be able to fill a whole book with all the characters I wish were real.):

  1. The Weasley Twins.  (Harry Potter)
    Oh hush, they totally count as one character. You can’t have Fred without George, and you can’t have George without…. oh. (*sniggers*) The twins have been two of my favourite characters since I first read the Potter books, and I’m pretty sure they were my main inspiration for liking pranks and probably being a pain when I was a teenager. To be honest, I think I still show my inner Weasley sometimes.
  2. Jesper Fahey (Six of Crows)
    I remember when I met Leigh Bardugo for the first time time, she was asking everyone who their favourite character out of the mains were. When I said mine was Jesper, she looked mildly surprised, and I really do get why. I mean, he’s a sharpshooter with a gambling problem and really not the most trustworthy on their team (You can, at least, trust Kaz to go through with his promises) but I got Jesper. He was my favourite of all of them from the second they were all introduced, all the way to the end of the second book. And I feel like he and I would be able to waste away many evenings talking/bragging/competeing with each other to prove our shooting (and flirting?) skills…
  3. Rhysand (A Court of Thorns and Roses)
    He is not the best of characters in the world. We all saw what he can do in ACOTAR with his power, mind and his anger. He could quiet happily destroy a kingdom, I feel, if someone hurt the people he loves. But he is also wonderful. Like, I just want to reach into the book and hug him whenever he is on the page- especially in that character in ACOMAF which I’m sure made 90% of readers cry. He may be really really old and able to protect himself, but I would sell my soul to the devil to get him into the real world…just to keep him safe from anything that could happen in ACOWAR.
  4. Lila Bard (A Darker Shade of Magic)
    It would be a very very bad idea to ever cross paths with Lila, since she is me in fictional form, but you know what? That’s all part of the fun.
    I’ve never read a character more that I understand. She wants to see everything and doesn’t care how. She wants to be a pirate. She loves adventure and I just… I fell in love while reading ADSOM and kept falling the further the series went. When I met Victoria last year, I actually thanked her for writing Lila, because I was reading about this girl, who only had the use of one eye, but learnt to live around that and could. (I used to sail and I am blind in one eye and I got so tired of people telling me what I couldn’t do without letting me speak for my own disability. So something about Lila… I just loved her for it)
  5. Chaol Westfall (Throne of Glass)
    Mainly because I WANT TO PROTECT HIM AT ALL COST.

…I’m laughing that this list is mostly guys. But that does raise a point that often, male characters are much better written. (since in most books, girls are there only to further a guys plotline) There are so many more I could have chosen from though. The Raven Boys boys, Cinder and Co. from The Lunar Chronicles, Ziri from The Daughter of Smoke and Bone… Newt from Fantastic Beasts (shhh it does count as a book!)… so, so many…

What would yours be?