Friday Thoughts: The Great Bookmark Debate

Apparently, there is a phrase which automatically makes me a fake book lover. That phrase is ‘You know, I dogear my books.’ The looks of horror on peoples faces can often be hilarious, and for some reason, it’s classed as a worse offence than highlighting inside books.

I don’t do it often, and I don’t do it while actually bookmarking a page I’m on, but I still do it. Mostly its when there is a part I love, or the start of a favourite chapter so I can go back and reference it easily.

I don’t understand why it’s seen as bad – as long as you don’t do it to other people’s books, I think this is fine to do.

Plus, it is far far easier to dogear than hunt around to find something to actually use as a bookmark… since, despite the fact I make bookmarks, I can never ever find one easily!

Weird things I’m currently using as bookmarks; a half price voucher for a restaurant. An old receipt, a piece of string and a ds game. Thank goodness kindles don’t need bookmarks.

Normal things I am currently not using as a bookmark; a bookmark.

Which is really amusing, when I get at least one nice bookmark for christmas each year. I always feel bad about never using it, but it never seems to be where I need. Part of me doesnt get why we even assign the title of bookmark to a particular strip of card when we much more often use limbs to hold books open anyway.

Whats the strangest thing you’ve used as a bookmark? Whats your view on folding down pages?

Friday Thoughts: On Book Covers

We all know that famous phrase don’t judge a book by its cover. Normally, we use it to talk about not books, but nowadays it’s a phrase that really should go back to its literal sense.

After all, there are books we see covers for and avoid even without knowing what is inside them. There are also covers which are so beautiful that you buy them without thought (often only to find out it has the worst writing inside it.

You would have thought we would have learnt by now. However most book lovers… we just have a complete love for our shelves looking just as pretty as our stories.

Books I avoid:

Books with girls on the cover wearing puffy dresses:

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I’ve seen three or four different series with covers EXACTLY like this. Girl posing uncomfortably in a dress you know she can’t walk in. And I just… I cant never remember what book is what. And in all of them, the plots are so similar? (I have actually read the above. It was good, but not amazing same can be said for a few others so I no longer bother)

this:

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I just…. this is a MG/YA book yet it looks really really dodgy.

I also tend to avoid any film adaptations covers – I prefer to imagine characters as I read rather than having actors face in my head beforehand.

Books I always go for:

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… I have such expensive taste.

Basically for me, its bright colours and pretty illustrations (added bonus if the inside is just as pretty)

This is the stupid thing though; book covers are vain. We all know they make no difference to what is inside- the words we are meant to be buying- but we care all the same. And publishers cater to that vanity.

Look at the Hunger Games:

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These are the covers that I own. Simple and effective, and apparently ‘adult’ covers? Because apparently, adults get ashamed when they read ya books without more mature covers?  Even when I bought them, there were already a few other cover designs out there, and then these ones came out:

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These bright, graffiti style covers, which, to this day, I still hate. If these had been the first ones that came out and I had seen them knowing nothing about the books, I would never have picked them up. nd if by some miracle I had, I would be highly annoyed; what on this cover screams children killing children for tv entertainment on it?

AND DON’T GET ME STARTED ON THE ENDLESS AMOUNTS OF COVERS THERE ARE FOR HARRY POTTER.

unless its these ones:

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(I’m buying all of them and I have no regrets)

So, what covers do you go for? What covers do you avoid?

Friday Thoughts: Top Five Fairytales

It should never be a surprise to anyone that I am a fairytale nerd through and through. I’ve got countless collections of them, some far far older than I am, and I’ve read more retellings than I can probably name. (and I am currently reading the original Beauty and the Beast, finally)

Fairytales are wonderful. Stories perfect for everyone, no matter their age, they tell stories of good fighting evil and love always getting it’s happily ever after, and how sometimes magic isn’t the thing a fairy godmother creates, but what you make yourself.

So these are my top five fairytales,  along with a few retellings of each.

  1. Beauty and the Beast.
    I may not have liked the 2017 Disney film (don’t get me started) but the animated film is one of my favourite films ever, and the story itself is one I have loved since childhood, through the very interesting basic ‘first readers’ versions, all the way to more classic retellings.
    I’ve always loved the story- this idea that this completely unloveble seemingly cruel person was cursed and has to find someone that would love them for who they were, and a character that is the only kind one in a family of spoilt children who end up together and both change each other for the better. It’s just so beautiful to see- in every incarnation of the story- how they learn to love each other.
    Retellings-
    A Court of Thorns and Roses, Sarah J Maas
    Cruel Beauty, Rosamund Hodge
    Beastly, Alex Finn
    Beauty, Robin McKinley
  2. The Snow Queen
    I don’t even know why I like this one so much- it’s not actually as well known as  many others. Or at least, it’s now known as Frozen. But I’ve always liked fairytales where the girls are the ones that save the day and I always loved the idea of this one. A mirror that makes people turn mean, three kisses that could end in death and a friendship and so strong that a girl travels for years to look for her boy. And a kiss and tears that melt a heart and save the day. It’s just so lovely.
    Retellings-
    Cold Spell, Jackson Pearce
    (and technically Stealing Snow, but my review on that tells you my thoughts)
  3. East of the Sun West of the Moon
    Told you I liked fairytales about girls saving the day. Though, to be fair, she wouldn’t have had to if she didn’t let curiosity get the better of her. I’ve always loved this one, because the prince saw her and her family and just went okay I can help and in the normal, creepy way of fairytales, she moves in with him. You know, because talking bears are normal and everything?
    Each night, a man appears in her room and never says anything. Again, fairytale creepiness that is just accepted. One day she can’t take it anymore, lights a candle and looks at him. The next morning, he is gone. And so she goes on an impossible adventure to find him. Talking to people and getting gifts (how convenient, when she needs them later), talking to the four winds until the North Wind finally blows her east of the sun and west of the moon to a castle where trolls live. For three nights she tries to save the prince but she can’t, until she realises, as a human, she is better at crafting than trolls and saves the day.
    and my favourite bit; in anger, the troll who wanted to marry the prince explodes. 
    I actually have a peice of artwork up in my house based on this tale.
    Retellings-
    East, Edith Pattou
  4. The Little Mermaid
    …One of the few fairytales where the princess doesn’t actually get the prince (don’t let Disney fool you), I’ve always liked this one because it isnt happy. This mermaid gives up a huge part of herself and accepts a life that would be painful for love. She goes to the prince, hoping he would fall in love with her (and thus share his human soul with her), but he ends up marrying another princess.
    Her mermaid sisters exchanged their hair for a knife that would end the princes life- and her fate of ceasing to exist because he doesn’t love her- but she refuses to kill him and turns into sea foam like ever other mermaid (awww) but because of her selfishness, she is given a chance in her afterlife to do deads so she would have a soul in the end.
    It’s so sad, but so… well, not true, but more true. Because in this, there is no love at first sight and the man isnt the happily ever after. It’s quite refreshing.
    Retellings-
    Good question, as I’ve never read a Little Mermaid retelling…
  5. One Eye, Two Eyes, Three Eyes
    This is such an unknown tale and it makes me sad, because it’s so good and has such a good lesson in it. Namely, never treat someone badly for being different to you, and never treat someone badly for being the same as someone else.
    In it, a woman has three daughters. One has one eye, one has two eyes and one has three eyes. Two of the daughters and the mother treat the two-eyed girl badly, leaving her only scraps to eat and making her do all the work. One day, Two Eyes gets upselt and while looking after the goat, starts crying. A woman appears and gives her a spell to say, that will make a table of food appear when she was with the goat. The others realise something is wrong and try to catch her out, but since they are not used to work, both the one -eyed daughter and the mother fall asleep. Finally the three-eyed daughter goes to the field with her, sees what is going on and they kill the goat.
    The woman appeared again and told the girl to bury the goats heart. She does so, and the next morning a tree of silver and gold fruit is there. All three try to pick the fruit, but it moves away from anyone but Two-Eyes.
    One day, a knight comes riding by and asks for some friut. Again, the three try to impress him, but it is only Two-Eyes that gives him the fruit. He asks if she wants anything and she told him she wishs to leave the house that treats her so badly. He whisks her away to his fathers castle where they fall in love and get married.
    Somehow, the tree follows her to her new home.
    When two beggars come to the castle later, Two-Eyes realises they are her sisters, forgives them and takes them in.
    I mean, shes more forgiving that I would ever be, but I’ve always loved that it shows that kindness as well.

What fairytales are your favourites? What do you wish were more well known, and what fairytales would you read more retellings of?

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?

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?

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?

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?