Why Do You Buy Books? Make Every Copy Count

Why do I buy books? The answer to this question seems obvious. Because I love them! Because books have changed my life and make every day more enjoyable (or stressful depending on the scene). But in this world where it seems each big new release has three different exclusive editions, the rush to catch collect them all can cost a lot of money.

My most recent experience of this was purchasing of three different editions of Kingdom of Ash – Kindle, Barnes and Noble, and Books-A-Million editions (for the ease of reading in the former and exclusive fanart in the latter two). After trying to reorganize my shelves to find some nonexistent space for these stunning books, I questioned why I felt the need collect multiples in the first place?

Recently someone I follow on Instagram shared that they check out library copies of books they own so they don’t crack the spines of their personal copies (something I’ll admit I’ve done in the past as well). Another person confessed to spilling coffee over a stack of books while trying to take a picture. They declared that they were okay with it because it just makes them one of a kind – and they can do what they want with THEIR books!

I’ll admit to being more in the previous category for at least the last three years – coinciding with my start in the bookstagram community – but my lack of shelf space has made me reconsider my “collector” mentality. Going through the stacks of books under my bed, I found multiple extra copies of books. There were two or three editions of some books I haven’t even read!

Looking at these different copies and editions made me wonder: Which copy means more, the one with the pretty cover, or the one where I experienced the story for the first time? The nostalgia of picking up an original copy of a childhood favorite means more to me than owning all the newly released covers. While I treasure my signed copies I know that I will never sell many of them, so does a dent in the cover from toting it around really matter? An inked on signature in a favorite book doesn’t make it more fragile than any others and why do I own it if I’m not going to read it?!

I’ve decided to make a resolution for myself: make every copy count.

No more buying copies of books that aren’t favorites or continue to remain unread on my shelves, especially if the purchase is for aesthetics or having a “reading copy.”

In the end books are ink on pages making shapes that can create worlds. I spend my hard-earned money on them and I can do whatever I want with my purchases! And yes, that can also mean standing on them for pictures and cracking spines to make reading more easy. These things don’t devalue the books in my eyes – they make them well-loved. This doesn’t mean I will stop buying special editions of my special favorites, but hopefully I’ll see a decrease in multiple copies for books I don’t really care about.

While I wrote this post to help me work out my feelings on what books mean to me, everyone has their own feelings on this topic! I hope this post helps you think about what books mean to you! Feel free to drop your own thoughts in the comments.

Review: Children of Blood and Bone

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi34728667

Published: March 6, 2018

Series: Legacy of Orïsha #1

Rating: 3.5/5

Goodreads

Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zelie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.

But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were targeted and killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.

Now, Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.

Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers—and her growing feelings for the enemy. 

An absolutely marvelous debut from Tomi Adeyemi. The world of magic  is so cinematic, it was easy to see why the book was optioned for film before it was even published.

However, this book was a major let down for me with the plethora of tropes and a writing style that wasn’t really my jam. This review was so hard to write, because to be honest, I probably would have rated it a solid 4 stars if not for the romance. Because I’m in the unpopular opinion crowd and so many people love this book, I thought it was necessary to focus more on explaining the things I didn’t enjoy and why. There may be some spoilers throughout, but I have tried to mark them.

The Writing

There are a lot of “older” YA themes in the beginning of this book (trigger warning: attempted rape happens in the first chapter). Because of this and the general bloodiness of the entire thing, I was expecting a more mature writing style; however, I kept thinking “this reminds me of a middle grade” throughout with the dialogue and character expression mirroring things I would expect in Percy Jackson. There were times where I was getting into the story and felt physically jolted out when this “younger” writing style switched to a bloody scene.

Some minor plot issues I had (a little SPOILERY): stopping to play in a river when you know that an entire army is coming after you. Screaming at someone (it’s even suggested others probably heard) when there is a super defended fortress you’re trying to breach down the hill from you. Stopping for a party when you’re on the deadline to “save the world.”  The consequences of some of these actions had me rolling my eyes because they were just SO obvious, and you’d think the characters would learn from their mistakes the first one or two times.

The World Building

Many themes in this book are based off of mythology and other aspects of Nigeria, which makes it unique in its own right. However, because the author drew so much from a real world place, the fantasy world suffered for it. While the magic system was explained, I never felt truly immersed in the scenery which I think is necessary to be truly engrossed in a fantasy novel. I did love the magic system, and really hope it gets explored more in future installments! It’s so interesting and complex and I feel like only the surface has been scratched.

A large part of the book is attributed to the god’s favors and meddling, but there were a few instances where I found myself raising my eyebrows at how easy/convenient something turned out for the characters. A lot of these were things I believe will be a lot more forgiving in a movie format than in a book, so I can’t wait to see how it’s interpreted on the big screen.

The Characters

The book often switches points of view, and I enjoyed Amari’s the best. Amari and Tzain were my two favorite characters, and seemed to be the only two that exercised common sense.

I loved the fearlessness and toughness of Zélie, but so much of her narrative was fueled by hatred and vengeance I had a hard time connecting with her while she was constantly projecting it onto others. If you’re going to learn a particular weapon so you don’t have to kill people, and preach about peace, you should practice it. (view spoiler) She doesn’t seem to learn or evolve this view throughout the book despite my hopes.

And Inan. He is one of the most indecisive MC’s I’ve ever encountered. It was very frustrating how his opinons changed drastically throughout the book, sometimes over the course of a single night.

The Romance

My least favorite part of this book by far, and spoilers can not be avoided, although I will try to keep it vague. (view spoiler) The entire thing skeeved me out because of the abruptness of the switch from violence to love.

Conclusions

Even though this book wasn’t for me, a lot of people will enjoy it. I feel like I may have focused so much on the negatives in this book because I went into it with such high hopes of a fresh and unique YA fantasy. So many tropes are regurgitated here that I found myself guessing what would happen in advance 99% of the time. If anything, this book has convinced me I may be outgrowing YA fantasy because so many things the main character does got on my nerves.

While I didn’t enjoy the book, it’s important to recognize the importance of a strong woman of color lead – a demographic that is severely lacking in fantasy books for all ages. I’m waiting for the day where I can recommend other books with similar themes as examples of novels I did enjoy. For the time being, this book is truly in a league of its own with the messages and representation it sets out to convey in a fantasy format.

I’ll definitely be watching the movie adaptation, and may check out future books in the series to see how the conflict is resolved.

 

Mar. TBR Tuesday

I recently made a TBR jar to help me decide what books to read next! You can check out how I made mine in my post HERE. This is the fun new way I’m going to be choosing a book or two to read each month. Note: you can click on the book covers below to read more about them on Goodreads.

And the first book that I drew for March was…

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Nevernight by Jay Kristoff! I actually started this a while ago and put it down because I got distracted by other reads. Now I have no excuse, and I’m excited to return to this world!

I Instagram-polled my followers to help me decide my next read for this month, and out of The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss and The Final Empire (Mistborn) by Brandon Sanderson, they chose Mistborn!

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I’ve heard so many wonderful things about this series, and am excited to find out what all of the hype is about! (If you’d like to join in on some more of my shenanigans, my Instagram is @emiesnook)

I was also recently approved for an ARC of one of my anticipated reads of the year, The Raging Ones, the fantasy debut of two of my favorite romance authors, Krista and Becca Ritchie! This book is definitely moving to the top of my TBR for the month.

Other books that I’m hoping to read/finish:

  1. City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments #6) by Cassandra Clare
  2. Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (my Classic of the Month!)
  3. Alphas Like Us (Like Us #3) by Becca and Krista Ritchie
  4. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy (continuing with read-a-long)

I may be a little overly-optimistic trying to finish multiple 600 page books this month, in the midst of midterm exam season, but I’m going to try my best!

What books are you planning on reading this month?

Review: Heartless by Marissa Meyer

33009320Heartless by Marissa Meyer

Published: November 8, 2016

Rating: 3.75/5

Goodreads

Long before she was the terror of Wonderland—the infamous Queen of Hearts—she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love.

Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland, and a favorite of the unmarried King of Hearts, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, all she wants is to open a shop with her best friend. But according to her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for the young woman who could be the next queen.

Then Cath meets Jest, the handsome and mysterious court joker. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the king and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into an intense, secret courtship. Cath is determined to define her own destiny and fall in love on her terms. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.

I picked this book up for the read-a-thon challenge – OwlCrate-a-thon! (You can read more about this in my post HERE) I received this book way back in 2016 as part of an OwlCrate and figured it was finally time to pick it up. Admittedly, I have never read Alice in Wonderland before (due to being terrified of the Disney movie as a child) so was unsure what kind of experience Wonderland would give me. It was certainly whimsical, with allusions to rhymes from my childhood and other references I recognized from both the live action and animated adaptations.

I found Catherine a sympathetic character. All of the descriptions of baked goods she made caused some major food envy! Throughout the story, I understood where she and her emotions were coming from, and I totally get her infatuation with Jest (the love interest). He was super broody and the sort of bad boy that I always love to pair off with the good girls.

Knowing this was an origin story for the Queen of Hearts, there had to be some tragedy involved. Although it was great getting the “whole story” behind what made the Queen of Hearts who she is, nothing really revolutionary happened. I saw one of the plot twists coming a little before the halfway point in the book, and felt like the story just kept circling trying to build up relationship tension. It was a struggle getting through the middle portion, contributing to my belief that this book could’ve been shorter than the 450 pages it was. The story really picked up in the last 100 pages or so, which is ultimately what led me to round my review up rather than down. Overall, it was just okay for me, although fans of Alice in Wonderland may feel differently and I can see how this book holds appeal.

In a side note, I feel like the low ratings I’ve been giving to some books lately may be due to me outgrowing some of the younger-YA genre (what, no, never!).

I hope to finally read Alice in Wonderland as my pick for the Classic of the Month 2018 challenge in March, so I’ll check back in!

Review: The Song of Achilles

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller36174638

Published: September 20, 2011

Rating: 5/5

Goodreads

Greece in the age of heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the court of King Peleus and his perfect son Achilles. Despite their difference, Achilles befriends the shamed prince, and as they grow into young men skilled in the arts of war and medicine, their bond blossoms into something deeper – despite the displeasure of Achilles’ mother Thetis, a cruel sea goddess.

But when word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, Achilles must go to war in distant Troy and fulfill his destiny. Torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus goes with him, little knowing that the years that follow will test everything they hold dear.

The Song of Achilles sets out to humanize the immortal hero Achilles, and accomplishes this as well as introduces a heart-wrenching romance to the classic story that had me sobbing in agony by the end.

I’m glad that I read The Iliad before picking this up because I was able to understand a few hints and analogies (such as when Achilles inadvertently cuts off his father when he’s telling a VERY IMPORTANT story) that would have gone over my head otherwise. I’ll admit that I was not very familiar with the non-Homeric Achilles myth, so some aspects of the plot were brand new to me.

Patroclus is a wonderful and caring character who I absolutely loved. Seeing him and Achilles grow together was an enchantingly beautiful experience, and was by far my favorite part. Being able to see the Trojan war through the eyes of a man rather than one of the gods was refreshing and added layers to the scene that the original text glossed over in the interest of contributing to the epic myth.

Achilles is pretty childish in The Iliad, and he remains so in this interpretation of the classic. However, Miller does an amazing job humanizing the immortalized hero, making him more than a spoiled child having a tantrum. By the end, I was crying at all of the pain the characters felt. This is definitely a book that I will pickup and reread, both because of the beauty of the relationship and the prose which I was enraptured by.

 

Reputation Book Tag

I haven’t done any Book Tags lately, and I saw this awesome Taylor Swift themed one on The Book Browsing Blog and had to fill it out!

Whenever I mention a book that I’ve reviewed below, you can click on the name to see my full post on it.

Are You Ready For It?: What is a book that you are super excited to read?

I’m SUPER excited to read the sequel to Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton, Traitor to the Throne. I loved all the characters and the amazing world and mythology, and can’t wait to dive back in.

21427834End Game: What are some of your OTPs?

Elide and Lorcan from Throne of Glass are one of my all-time favorite One True Pairings. I love whenever the bad-broody-in-need-of-redemption males get with the a nice girl. Added bonus when they have some fae blood.

Maximoff and Farrow from the Like Us series by Becca and Krista Ritchie are my favorites in the romance genre. Definitely check that series out!

I Did Something Bad: Name a book with morally grey characters.

Six of Crows is always my go to when thinking of morally grey characters. I mean, the main characters nickname is Dirty Hands and he certainly has completed enough dastardly deeds to live up to it. Despite the highly illegal activities the gang gets up to, you can’t help rooting for them every step of the way.

Don’t Blame Me: What is a book that you recommend to everyone?

I recently read Red Rising by Pierce Brown and have been vehemently recommending it to anyone who likes Fantasy/Sci-Fi. If you’re a fan of either of these genres, you HAVE to check this series out!

Delicate: What is a book that you will never loan to anyone?

Vicious by V. E. Schwab. I have a first edition hardcover (out of print now) , SIGNED and although I love the book, I absolutely REFUSE to lend out my copy to anyone.

Look What You Made Me Do: What is the book that got you into reading?

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was the first book that truly enraptured me, way back when I was in Kindergarten. If I hadn’t been exposed to this lovely series, I’m not sure that I would be the avid reader I am today!

So It Goes: What is a book that sucked you into a particular author or series?

Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout made me absolutely addicted to all of the authors paranormal work. I’m still working my way through her contemporary books, but her Lux series and The Dark Elements series are amazing!

35406534Gorgeous: Name a book with a beautiful cover.

Hero at the Fall by Alwyn Hamilton has an absolutely gorgeous (AND SHINY) UK cover that I’m in love with. Still working my way through Traitor to the Throne, the second book in this series, but I can’t wait until I crack this one open.

Getaway Car: What is a book that you’ve read that has crime involved in some aspect?

Of course, Six of Crows again comes to mind. One book that I haven’t read yet, but am super excited to pick up is The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch which is supposed to be another wonderful heist book.

King Of My Heart: Who is your book boyfriend/girlfriend?

Lorcan Salvaterre from the Throne of Glass series is one of my all-time favorite BAE’s!

26795341Dancing With Our Hands Tied: What is a book that made you want to dance around when you finished it?

Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli was such a sweet and touching book. Definitely made me want to twirl around, I was so happy for all of the characters.

Dress: Name a character that you want to swap wardrobes with.

Celaena Sardothien from Throne of Glass has such an amazing wardrobe, I would love to swap with her! From assassin gear, to beautiful dresses, she has style that I can’t even dream of.

This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things: What is a problematic book you have read?

Fifty Shades of Grey is a book I’ve read that is contentious because of its portrayal of romance isn’t healthy.

Call I What You Want: What is a book that you wish you could change the title to?

I can’t really think of one of these offhand, I feel like every book has the title it does for a reason! What is an example that you can think of?

New Year’s Day: What book gave you a fresh outlook on life?

I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again: Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas changed my life in high school. In the book, the main character deals with depression and trying to find herself. It found my at exactly the right time and remains my favorite book by Maas.

Thanks for reading, feel free to try this out yourself!

 

Review: Three Dark Crowns

Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake23207027

Published: September 20, 2016 by HarperTeen

Rating: 3/5

Goodreads

Every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born: three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomachache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions.

But becoming the Queen Crowned isn’t solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it’s not just a game of win or lose … it’s life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins. The last queen standing gets the crown.

If only it was that simple. Katharine is unable to tolerate the weakest poison, and Arsinoe, no matter how hard she tries, can’t make even a weed grow. The two queens have been shamefully faking their powers, taking care to keep each other, the island, and their powerful sister Mirabella none the wiser. But with alliances being formed, betrayals taking shape, and ruthless revenge haunting the queens’ every move, one thing is certain: the last queen standing might not be the strongest … but she may be the darkest.

It’s been over a year since I first picked up this book, and after a LONG sitting half read on my shelf, I finally finished it as a part of the OwlCrate-a-thon challenge (you can read more about that in my post HERE)!

The dialogue throughout felt clunky because of the stiff way everyone talks. By this I mean the characters rarely ever abbreviate (It is good vs. it’s good) making the heavy dialogue scenes feel kind of robotic. It took me a bit to get into the book because of this, and I found it nearly impossible to be reading this book and others at the same time.

Overall I found the characters pretty likeable, and I’m still struggling to decide which queen to back! I personally like Katherine, the poisoner queen, but everyone else to seems to support either Mirabella or Arsinoe. My personal preference always seems to be for the “misunderstood” characters which may account for this decision.

The romance in this book left something to be desired. Yes, it’s nice to have less romance-heavy YA fantasy, but when it is included I like the men not to be pigs (illegal dark magic aside). Hopefully the next book expands upon the love interests already in place, I’d really like to know the motivations behind one of the scenes located almost at the end of the book (no spoilers!).

I’ll likely pick up the rest of the series because not knowing what happens to the queens would kill me. While the story was ultimately good and captured my interest, I just found the dialogue and some plot points a little too detracting for a four star rating.