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    Hi, I'm Tina. 25, fishkeeper, gamer, writer, screenwriting graduate, and current biomedical science student. My reading interests typically reflect none of the above. I read 54 books in 2016, and coincidentally the same again in 2017. I'm taking part in the Around the Year in in 52 Books GoodReads challenge and also aim to participate as much as possible in the TSR Book Club.

    I'll keep a summary of the books I've read in the post below this one as well as properly posting my thoughts on them as I go along.


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    Current total: 53
    AtY Prompts Read: 10/52

    Key:
    📘 - TSR Book Club
    📙 - AtY in 52 Books
    📕 - GB Buddy Reads

    Rated out of 5.


    1. Tell Me It's Real by TJ Klune (At First Sight #1)

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
    Jan 6-7


    2. Animal Farm by George Orwell 📘

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
    Jan 8-9

    3. [omitted]
    Jan 10

    4. The Queen & The Homo Jock King by TJ Klune (At First Sight #2)

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
    Jan 7-11

    5. Forbidden Monastery by Sam C. Leonhard (Rage #1) 📙

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
    Jan 12-13
    📙 Prompt #1: A book with the letters A, T & Y in the title.

    6. Empress and Child by Sam C. Leonhard (Rage #2)

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
    Jan 13-14

    7. They Both Die at the End by Andrew Silvera 📙

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
    Jan 15
    📙 Prompt #3: A book from the 2017 Goodreads Choice Awards.

    8. The Goddess Chronicle by Natsuo Kirino 📙

    ⭐️⭐️
    Jan 16-24
    📙 Prompt #2: A book from the first 10 books added to your To Be Read list.

    9. Letters from the Earth by Mark Twain 📙

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
    Jan 24
    📙 Prompt #4: 4 books linked by the 4 elements: Book #1 Earth (in title, cover, content, setting, author...)

    10. How to Write a Novel Using the Snowflake Method by Randy Ingermanson

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
    Jan 25

    11. Writing Fiction for Dummies by Randy Ingermanson & Peter Economy

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
    Jan 25-29

    12. The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank 📙

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
    Jan 30
    📙 Prompt #5: A book about or inspired by real events.

    13. Call the Coroner by Avril Ashton

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
    Jan 31-Feb 1

    14. The Red by Tiffany Reisz 📕

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
    Feb 2-3

    15. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky 📘

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️
    Feb 3

    16. Blackout by Marc Elsberg 📙

    ⭐️
    Feb 5-12
    📙 Prompt #6: A book originally written in a language other than English.

    17. Dark Citadel by Cherise Sinclair

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
    Feb 12-13

    18. Breaking Free by Cherise Sinclair

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️
    Feb 13-16

    19. We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson 📙

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
    Feb 16-17
    📙 Prompt #7: A gothic novel.

    20. Queen Takes Knights by Joely Sue Buckhart 📕

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️
    Feb 17

    21. Queen Takes King by Joely Sue Buckhart

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
    Feb 18-19

    22. Queen Takes Queen by Joely Sue Buckhart

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
    Feb 21

    23. Something for Nothing by Connie Bailey

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️
    Feb 25

    24. If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️
    Feb 27

    25. Exalted by Sansa Rayne 📕

    ⭐️
    Feb 28-Mar 4

    26. Roped by SJD Peterson

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️
    Mar 4-9

    27. Nerve by Jeanne Ryan

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️
    Mar 13-16

    28. Kingdom of Ashes by Elena May

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️
    Apr 21-24

    29. Lean on Me by Cherise Sinclair

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️
    Apr 24-25

    30. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas 📙

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
    Feb 24-Apr 26
    📙 Prompt #8: An "own voices" book.

    31. Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas 📙

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
    Apr 26-27
    📙 Prompt #10: An author's debut book.

    32. A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
    Apr 29-May 4

    33. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut 📙

    ⭐️
    May 5
    📙 Prompt #11: A literary fiction

    34. Man, Oh Man! Writing Quality M/M Fiction by Josh Lanyon

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️
    May 7-19

    35. The Satanic Bible by Anton Szandor LaVey

    Unrated
    May 17-20

    36. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
    May 21

    37. Midnight Blue by LJ Shen

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
    May 21-22

    38. Keeping Lily by Izzy Sweet and Sean Moriarty

    ⭐️
    May 22

    39. Beautiful Broken Things by Sara Barnard 📘

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
    May 23-24

    40. Queen Takes Rook by Joely Sue Burkhart

    ⭐️⭐️
    May 23-25

    41. Papa's Prey by Zoe Blake

    ⭐️
    May 25-26

    42. Venus in Furs by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
    Jun 20-25

    43. [omitted]
    Jun 25

    44. Crown of Midnight by Sarah J Maas

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️
    May 26-Jul 9

    45. Royal Replicas by Michael Pierce

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️
    May 26-Jul 10

    46. Omitted
    Jul 10

    47. The Pageant by Leigh Walker

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
    Jul 10-15

    48. Omitted
    Jul 19

    49. The Gala by Leigh Walker

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
    Jul 18-29

    50. The 120 Days of Sodom by Marquis de Sade

    ⭐️⭐️
    Jul 30-Aug 3

    51. The Finale by Leigh Walker

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️
    Jul 29-Aug 8

    52. The Virgin and the Beast by Stasia Black

    ⭐️⭐️
    Aug 5-Aug 10

    53. The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
    Aug 10-Aug 13
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    yayyy!! good luck!! Will be watching this thread so plz tag me!!
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    (Original post by sinfonietta)
    Hi, I'm Tina. 25, fishkeeper, gamer, writer, screenwriting graduate, and current biomedical science student. My reading interests typically reflect none of the above. I read 54 books in 2016, and coincidentally the same again in 2017. I'm taking part in the Around the Year in in 52 Books GoodReads challenge and also aim to participate as much as possible in the TSR Book Club.

    I'll keep a summary of the books I've read in the post below this one as well as properly posting my thoughts on them as I go along.


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    OMG yes! :yay: I have been waiting for this :gah:
    I am looking forward to reading it! :lovehug:
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    (Original post by nyxnko_)
    yayyy!! good luck!! Will be watching this thread so plz tag me!!
    Added you!

    (Original post by Michiyo)
    OMG yes! :yay: I have been waiting for this :gah:
    I am looking forward to reading it! :lovehug:
    I was just finishing up the summary when you posted this. :lol:

    I'm kind of excited to play catch-up posting about the books I've already read so far. Got a busy day lined up so that will probably be tomorrow.
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    (Original post by sinfonietta)
    Added you!
    Thank you
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    #1. Tell Me It's Real & #3 The Queen & The Homo Jock King by TJ Klune.




    I've seen this novel's cover a dozen times and I always scroll past it without a thought. The same can probably apply to every novel TJ Klune has ever written. The covers and titles of his books just don't speak to me. It was instead when I came across the sequel, The Queen & The Homo Jock King, that I became curious. I liked the way the character is simultaneously being portrayed as male and female. So I gave the excerpt a go. You know the expression "don't judge a book by it's cover"? Well, had I not done that continuously for years I probably would have realised a lot sooner that Klune is hilarious. I was physically laughing out loud just reading the excerpt from the second novel. It only made sense at that point to read the first book, well, first.

    Tell Me It's Real focuses on Paul Auster, a witty overweight 30yo man who lives with his two-legged dog, Wheels. What makes this novel is Paul's hilarious commentary on anything and everything in his life. He's awkward and nerdy and gets himself into humiliating situation after humiliating situation - including hitting the love interest with his car close to the start. I was laughing from start to finish reading this, which is a rarity for me. I wasn't too interested in the love story involving Paul and Vince, which is probably a bad thing as it is a romance novel, but I absolutely loved Paul, his best friend, and his family who know (and assume) way too much about his sex life. And share too much about theirs.

    The Queen & The Homo Jock King focuses on Paul's best friend, Sanford "Sandy" Stewart. Also know as drag queen Helena Handbasket. Sandy was one of my favourite characters from the first book (along with Paul's grandmother) and the same awkwardness and tendency to do something embarrassing that Paul has seems to have passed on to Sandy. One example of this is when he agrees to seduce the Mayor's illegitimate son in order to save the club he works at... only to immediately blow it and tell the person he is meant to be seducing. Unlike the love story in the first book, I loved Sandy and Darren. It also made me immensely happy that Paul's family considers Sandy one of their own, because they continued to have a big presence in this book.

    I rated both novels 4/5 stars. I'd definitely recommend them for fans of M/M romance looking for a book to make them laugh. Unless you consider yourself to be "mature", then you might just roll your eyes and think it's stupid. But I've mentally been 14 for over a decade so I loved it.

    There is a third book in the At First Sight series, titled Until You, which I intend to get around to eventually. But I am making an effort this year to try and balance romance novels with "real literature", because I have a habit of just sticking to books that don't require too much thinking.

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    #2. Animal Farm by George Orwell.
    📘 TSR Book Club.



    The first George Orwell novel I read was 1984 sometime between 2006-2008. And I hated it. It was one of the books I was required to read for Standard Grade English, among others such as: Educating Rita by Willy Russell; A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens; To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee; Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck; and The Glass Menagerie by William Tennessee. Admittedly, I didn't enjoy any of them at the time. Forcing teenagers to read classics is just a sure-fire way to make them hate them - at least in my case. However, later when I attended college in 2010 I was required to read it a second time for Higher English. That second time I fell in love with the book, and to this day it remains one of my top two favourite novels of all time - the other being Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami.

    The last time I was sat in a history class was also during that same time period. I remember covering the Russian Revolution but I remember very little of it. I knew enough to work out which characters were meant to represent who that was it. But it piqued my interest enough to want to go back and refresh my memory of Russian history - which is something I intend to do once I identify some good resources. I'm not sure if the gaps in my knowledge were a good thing or a hinderance in my enjoyment of this book. I loved it's surface value but feel like I missed out on it's depth. What I enjoyed most about this novel was that the narrator wasn't talking down to the reader, spelling things out, or giving opinions. Things were merely alluded to and the reader left to think about the content. A huge criticism I have of more contemporary fiction is that writers often feel the need to state everything plainly as if the reader can't put two and two together and reach the correct conclusion for themselves.

    Long-story short sinfonietta needs to read some history books. Anyone have any recommendations?

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    #4. Forbidden Monastery & #5 Empress and Child by Sam C Leonhard.
    📙 Prompt #1: A book with the letters A, T & Y in the title



    I'm in love with the cover art for these novels. :heart:

    I bought Forbidden Monastery for $1 directly from the publisher in October 2015 and I had given up on any intention I had of ever reading it. It was only due to the fact it met the criteria for the first prompt of the AtY reading challenge, "A book with the letters A, T & Y in the title", that I finally decided to give it a go. What's disappointing about this novel is that the blurb just doesn't capture the feel of the story at all. This is really a shame because the novel is incredibly well-written with fantastically witty dialogue and characters that I just couldn't help but fall in love with. I'm not much of a fantasy reader, and if it weren't for just how much I loved the characters then I don't know how far I would've gotten through it.

    Forbidden Monastery follows an assassin named Rage (I almost got over my hatred of his name by the end of the book - almost) who is approached in a tavern with the task to kidnap and rape a sixteen year old girl: Lady Lucinda "Luca" of Babylon. He declines because even murderers have some morals, and then he goes ahead and kidnaps her anyway for her own protection! Her friend, a mute boy named Keiran, chases them down and then the three of them dodge killers, ride horses, pet cats, and put out fires together. But it's the relationships between the three characters that really make this book. I loathed Luca and Keiran in the beginning but by the end adored them just as much as I loved Rage.

    The sequel, Empress and Child, picks up a few short months after the previous novel ended. They travel to the city where Rage ends up on a mission from the Empress and, if the title isn't a giveaway, it involves a child. They unite for another adventure that isn't quite as exciting as the first but still a page-turner. Unfortunately, judging by GoodReads at least, these books weren't huge sellers compared to Leonhard's other work. I can't help but wonder if there was meant to be more to this series, because the epilogue just felt like a very rushed way of tying up the character's individual stories. It leaves an empty feeling that sours an otherwise amazing read.

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    #7. They Both Die At the End by Adam Silvera.
    📙 Prompt #3:A book from the 2017 Goodreads Choice Awards.



    This novel was an easy choice for AtY Prompt #3: A book from the 2017 Goodreads Choice Awards. I remembering being sat in a Human Biology lecture, waiting for it to start, when I saw that the awards had been announced. I added this book to my reading list the same day. It was a nominee in the Young Adult category.

    They Both Die at the End is definitely within my comfort zone. I read a lot of LGBT+ literature, having been my preferred 'genre' for over a decade at this point, and I am a sucker for stories that are essentially death games. This book meets both of these criteria. The characters live in a society where a Death-Cast warns people at midnight on the day of their death via phone call, telling them they'll die sometime within the next 24hrs. Two teenage boys in New York, Mateo and Rufus, both receive the call and connect over an app called Last Friends to find someone to spend their final day with. I found it hard to put down, staying up late to finish it despite the fact I only had two hours sleep the night before.

    Rated: 4/5.



    #8. The Goddess Chronicle by Natsuo Kirino.
    📙 Prompt #2:A book from the first 10 books added to your To Be Read list.



    In 2009 I read three Kirino novels back to back. When another of her books was translated into English, The Goddess Chronicle, I put it on preorder immediately and it has been sat on my bookshelf ever since it was released January 2013. I don't know if it was nine year gap since last reading any of the author's work, or the fact this piece is a different genre from her previously translated novels (horror), but I didn't enjoy this.

    Firstly, it is part of the Canongate Myth series, which are a series of books devoted to re-imaginings of folklore written by contemporary authors, in this case Izanami and Izanaki. But, in the context of the story, the events of their life had for the most part already occurred in past. This means that this novel was more telling what had happened between them rather than showing it in their present. These monologues about the past could last multiple chapters. It was a little dull. I feel like it had the potential to be more than it was. Maybe if I hadn't figured out a major plot twist ahead of it occurring it might have been somewhat more enjoyable. But, as a whole, after the first 60-70 pages (that focused on a girl named Namima and the culture of her island before she met Izanami) this book just fell flat for me.

    Rated: 2/5



    #9. Letters from the Earth by Mark Twain.
    📙 Prompt #4:4 books linked by the 4 elements: Book #1 Earth (in title, cover, content, setting, author...)



    I spent so long trying to find a book for this prompt. "Earth" is my least favourite element. I finally decided a week ago to pick a book with "forest" in the title then I came to read it today and wasn't interested. I looked through a discussion thread for this prompt on GoodReads only looking at books that had "earth" in the title - and from it I picked Letters from the Earth. I didn't realise what a short read it would be nor how much I would enjoy it. I have never read a Mark Twain novel. Not even one. And it seems I started with his most controversial. I've read many criticisms of the bible, heck I'm sure this very forum is filled with them, but nothing as well-written and thought-provoking as this book. It's written in the form of letters from Satan which challenges the generally agreed upon image of God.

    Rated: 4/5.

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    #10. How to Write a Novel Using the Snowflake Method by Randy Ingermanson.



    The past few weeks I've returned to an old writing project I dropped when I started my screenwriting degree. I made good headway on re-writing the first third of the book before I realised some major flaws with the overall structure and supporting cast. I went to look at Ingermanson's website for a refresher on plot development, as I have used his snowflake method to write more than a dozen novels over the years, only to discover that he released a book in 2014. At the cost of £3, it seemed like a good investment!

    Ingermanson demonstrates how to write a novel using his method by doing exactly that: writing a novel with the method. The protagonist, Goldilocks, is an aspiring writer who takes lessons on writing from first Papa Bear and then Mama Bear before finally deciding that Baby Bear's snowflake method is just right. He guides her through writing her novel and at the very end Ingermanson shares the plans he used to write this book. Seeing those resources was perhaps the most useful part of the book overall.

    Rated: 4/5.


    #11. Writing Fiction for Dummies by Randy Ingermanson and Peter Economy.



    I never thought I'd ever touch a For Dummies book, but when I saw Ingermanson's name on the cover I decided to take the plunge. Now I've read a huge number of books on writing fiction, but had I known that I could get everything I possibly needed in a single book I could probably have saved myself a lot of money. Okay I probably still would have needed the ones specific to writing screenplays, but damn, this is a fantastic resource that I'd recommend to both experienced writers and newbies.

    Rated: 5/5


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    #12. The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank.
    📙 Prompt #5: A book about or inspired by real events.



    Michiyo suggested I read this for prompt #16 after I said it had been on my to-read list for years. And I'm glad I did. I feel weird rating it, or even really talking about it, so I've automatically given it five stars. It doesn't feel right to rate this in the same way I would another book. Someone's diary feels very different to a book that a writer spent years polishing and okayed the final draft for publication.

    I also feel strange because I met a man in England 12-14 years ago who was also in Bergen-Belsen concentration camp (where Anne Frank died). If I recall correctly it was at a different time, and they never met, but his experience was equally devastating while at the same time very different from hers. And all I've been able to think of since finishing that book last night is that I wonder if he's still alive.

    To end on a less depressing note, here's some photos I took of the Anne Frank wax sculpture in Madamn Tussauds Berlin last May:

    Spoiler:
    Show





    Rated: 5/5.

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    #13. Call the Coroner by Avril Ashton.



    “The monster in you recognizes the monster in me,” he whispered. “And it wants to play.”

    This book is dark. Beyond dark. And I should have gone into it with that expectation, given that I heard of it through a romance group where it came second in the "Best Dark Theme" category of our annual member's choice awards. But it's anything but romantic. This book is a war between two killers driven by anger, hatred, and revenge. And it's a page turner. I only put it down to sleep and attend a lab (where we're not even allowed phones otherwise you can bet I would have gotten a few pages in here or there during downtime).

    This is one of the rare times I rate a romance 5/5. And I can see myself re-reading this, even if not for the story but for sheer guidance because Avril Ashton's writing is incredible. I found myself pausing to reread passages because she just wrote them so beautifully. The only con? It's a standalone novel and I would've started the sequel immediately had it existed.

    Rated: 5/5.

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    Two book club reads this time, one for a Goodreads group and the other for TSR.

    #14. The Red by Tiffany Reisz. 📕



    “Art should be dangerous, you know. It should say something to society that society doesn't want to hear. Do you know what the opposite of art is? Propaganda. There's too much of that in the world. Not enough art." - Malcolm.

    I hadn't heard of this book before it came up as a buddy read in a Goodreads group I'm a part of. I wasn't even going to read it, and was just going to wait for the next one on Feb 14th, but I decided to give it a go and I do not regret it. It's a mixture of fine art and pure filth. And now I desperately want to see Max Oppenheimer's Der Blutende (Bleeding Man) in person, but it looks like it's in a gallery in Kansas.

    Rated: 4/5.


    #15. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. 📘



    "And all the books you've read have been read by other people. And all the songs you've loved have been heard by other people. And that girl that's pretty to you is pretty to other people. and that if you looked at these facts when you were happy, you would feel great because you are describing 'unity'."

    I feel like this quote perfectly describes why I enjoy group reads, or book clubs, so much. I don't feel an overwhelming urge to have a deep discussion about everything I read, but I like that feeling of being a part of something. I like knowing that when I'm reading something, there are other people out there that are sharing that same experience in a similar time frame. It's why I've participated in NaNoWriMo every year since 2006. It's why I regularly go to concerts. Sharing an experience with a group of strangers is exhilarating.

    I picked this book up second-hand for the TSR book club. I read it in a single session with The Smiths playing at low volume in the background. Mostly Asleep on repeat, because it comes up again and again in the book. Occasionally switching to This Charming Man because it reminds me of the first person I went to bed with. Listening to music with this read just made it feel like a much more immersive experience. But I didn't read it in one session because I thought it was good. In fact, until a little after the halfway point I wasn't that impressed with it. Then it began picking up. I've not read this book before, but it made me feel nostalgic in a way. I found Charlie to be relatable to my teenage myself, but my hatred of her might explain why I disliked him. Despite this, I think I like this book and I think I'd also recommend it. But I still think the first half is lacking and that everyone cries way too damn much.

    Rated: 3/5

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    #16. Blackout by Marc Elsberg. 📙
    📙 Prompt #6: A book originally written in a language other than English.


    I had high hopes for this book and it started off promising, but it went downhill rapidly from around the quarter way point. Originally written in German, Blackout is about the collapse of Europe's electrical grid in a widespread power outage caused by hackers. It's described as a thriller, but it definitely didn't get my heart racing like a good thriller does. The novel jumps around different people in different countries trying to resolve the problem with not enough time being spent on any one of them for me to really connect to them. I just found it dull.

    Rated: 1/5.


    #17-18. Dark Citadel and Breaking Free by Cherise Sinclair



    “You are what you are; you need what you need.” - Master Dan (Dark Citadel).

    Books two and three of the Masters of the Shadowlands series. If you've read 50 Shades of Grey and think it's something desirable or an accurate portrayal of a D/s relationship then toss that book out fast. These novels will open your eyes to what a safe and consensual relationship between a dom and his sub should look like.

    Rated: Dark Citadel: 4/5; Breaking Free: 3/5



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    #19. We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
    📙 Prompt #7: A gothic novel.


    "Merricat, said Connie, would you like a cup of tea?
    Oh, no, said Merricat, you’ll poison me.
    Merricat, said Connie, would you like to go to sleep?
    Down in the boneyard ten feet deep!"

    I was not looking forward to this weeks prompt: a gothic novel. Outside of Bram Stoker's Dracula and The Picture of Dorian Grey by Oscar Wilde it's a genre that just doesn't really do it for me. Ironic given how immersed I am in the goth community. So I picked this book up because it's not too long (approx 200pgs) and had fairly good reviews.

    I was amazed at how much I enjoyed this book. It focuses on the Blackwood family following a tragedy in which four members of the household were poisoned. The eldest daughter, Constance, has recently returned home after being acquitted of the murders. She, her sister Merricat, and their Uncle Julian isolate themselves within the family estate to avoid the gossiping villagers until one day their cousin Charles shows up at the property and disturbs their happy equilibrium.

    I loved the characters (especially the protagonist Merricat) and Jackson's writing style is riveting. I read the majority of it in one sitting today despite only intending to read a chapter and then do something else! It starts off slow but quickly becomes a page turner. I'd absolutely recommend it.

    Rated: 5/5.

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    #20-22. Their Vampire Queen Bks 1-3 by Joely Sue Buckhart. 📕




    Queen Takes Knights came up as a buddy read in a GoodReads group I'm in. It's about a girl named Shara who discovers that she is a vampire queen descended from the goddess Isis. It feels more of a serial publication, rather than feeling like complete novels, with the first three books focusing on Shara as she garners Blood (followers) and builds her house or "nest". The first book wasn't that great but the relationships between Shara's Blood persuaded me to read the sequels and I'd be lying if I said I'm not excited for the upcoming Queen Takes Rook. But while I've enjoyed them I can't honestly say I'd recommend it to anyone. This definitely feels like a niche genre read that I'd only tell people to go for if they're really into reverse harems and vampires.

    Rated:
    Queen Takes Knights 3/5; Queen Takes King 4/5; Queen Takes Queen 4/5.

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    #23. Something for Nothing by Connie Bailey.



    I like to try and find a quote from the books I read, but I can't find any that really stick out for me about this novel. Because this isn't a book that sticks out. It's plot is lacking, the writing is uninteresting, and the symbolism is too heavy-handed. Yet I just couldn't put it down. The primary couple, Alvaro and Cande, are cute and fun. It's the sort of thing you'd expect to come out in the sort of sweet style of yaoi aimed at female readers yet focused on a group of Hispanic boys and set in California. The two boys—along with their friends Leo, Kiki, and Elagio—are preparing a dance routine for a talent show. The friendships between them are really what propel this story forward, their banter and fun dialogue being the highlight of it all. In fact, had I picked a quote from it, it would have been a quick exchange between Alvaro and Cande... but it's totally inappropriate. Despite that remark it's lovely and sweet, and if you're a fan of Japanese light novels then it's probably up your alley, but don't expect it to blow your mind.

    Rated: 3/5.


    #24. If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo



    “You can have anything," [Virginia] said, "once you admit you deserve it."

    I had high hopes for this book. The protagonist is a transwoman, and the novel is also written by a transwoman, so I was hoping that Russo's own experiences might give the protagonist, Amanda, depth. I was disappointed. Most of the problems I had with the book the author tried to justify in a letter to readers at the end where she says she deliberately changed medical facts to work with her story (eg starting treatment/getting surgery underage) and minimised the experience to be more relatable to cis-readers. In trying so hard to normalise Amanda she made her boring. What could have given her a level of depth felt meaningless. I came to the idea after a while that this was meant to be a love story, rather than about Amanda's journey, and I was okay with that - until most of she and the love interests dates were explained in flash backs while the character sat alone reflecting on them instead of being shown to the reader. And the ending was so abrupt that I didn't even realise it was over until I turned the page. This book gained mass appeal so it disappoints me that a book with so much potential to simultaneously educate and entertain readers fell so short. It's frustrating to see something that could have been amazing end up feeling half-baked.

    Rated: 3/5


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    (Original post by sinfonietta)
    Current total: 24
    AtY Prompts Read: 7/52

    Key:
    📘 - TSR Book Club
    📙 - AtY in 52 Books
    📕 - GB Buddy Reads

    Rated out of 5.


    1. Tell Me It's Real by TJ Klune (At First Sight #1)

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
    Jan 6-7


    2. Animal Farm by George Orwell 📘

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
    Jan 8-9

    3. [omitted]
    Jan 10

    4. The Queen & The Homo Jock King by TJ Klune (At First Sight #2)

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
    Jan 7-11

    5. Forbidden Monastery by Sam C. Leonhard (Rage #1) 📙

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
    Jan 12-13
    📙 Prompt #1: A book with the letters A, T & Y in the title.

    6. Empress and Child by Sam C. Leonhard (Rage #2)

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
    Jan 13-14

    7. They Both Die at the End by Andrew Silvera 📙

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
    Jan 15
    📙 Prompt #3: A book from the 2017 Goodreads Choice Awards.

    8. The Goddess Chronicle by Natsuo Kirino 📙

    ⭐️⭐️
    Jan 16-24
    📙 Prompt #2: A book from the first 10 books added to your To Be Read list.

    9. Letters from the Earth by Mark Twain 📙

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
    Jan 24
    📙 Prompt #4: 4 books linked by the 4 elements: Book #1 Earth (in title, cover, content, setting, author...)

    10. How to Write a Novel Using the Snowflake Method by Randy Ingermanson

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
    Jan 25

    11. Writing Fiction for Dummies by Randy Ingermanson & Peter Economy

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
    Jan 25-29

    12. The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank 📙

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
    Jan 30
    📙 Prompt #5: A book about or inspired by real events.

    13. Call the Coroner by Avril Ashton

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
    Jan 31-Feb 1

    14. The Red by Tiffany Reisz 📕

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
    Feb 2-3

    15. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky 📘

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️
    Feb 3

    16. Blackout by Marc Elsberg 📙

    ⭐️
    Feb 5-12
    📙 Prompt #6: A book originally written in a language other than English.

    17. Dark Citadel by Cherise Sinclair

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
    Feb 12-13

    18. Breaking Free by Cherise Sinclair

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️
    Feb 13-16

    19. We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson 📙

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
    Feb 16-17
    📙 Prompt #7: A gothic novel.

    20. Queen Takes Knights by Joely Sue Buckhart 📕

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️
    Feb 17

    21. Queen Takes King by Joely Sue Buckhart

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
    Feb 18-19

    22. Queen Takes Queen by Joely Sue Buckhart

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
    Feb 21

    23. Something for Nothing by Connie Bailey

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️
    Feb 25

    24. If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️
    Feb 27

    25. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas 📙

    Reading.
    Feb 24-???
    📙 Prompt #7: An "own voices" book.
    :hi:I look forward to reading these books too as i add them to my reading list.I would like you to add me to the tag list, please. Goodluck!
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    #25. Exalted by Sansa Rayne. 📕



    This book was a buddy read for a GoodReads group. Ugh. I wanted to like this. It took three elements I typically love—detective story, religion, and bondage—and combined them in one book. I wanted to like this but it just... was dull. I was bored and found myself skipping scenes with characters I just couldn't gel with. It just wasn't for me.

    Rated: 1/5.


    #26. Roped by SJD Peterson.



    After Exalted, I just wanted a book I could trust to be good. So I went back to one of my favourite authors, SJD Peterson, and started reading book four of her Guards of Folsom series. I read the first three in early 2016 and I fell in love with Peterson's writing and the characters she had created. Unfortunately it didn't carry the same charm as the previous books in the series until the 60% mark, when the main characters Tek and Jamie finally met the characters from the previous books. I enjoyed it, but it wasn't what I expected.

    Rated: 3/5




    So, I'm at the halfway mark already for my reading goal and it's only March 11th. I might need to up my goal. :lol: But I've fallen behind on the themed weeks for the Around the Year challenge. Need to fix that! It's taking me ages to get through The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (my theme #7 book) because I bought a physical copy. I don't want it to get damaged in my bag so I'm only really reading it when I'm at home, feel like reading it, and have natural light to read by. I have a severe lack of lamps in my house.

    Also, hi donut_mckenzie28. Added you to the list. Seen anything that appeals to you?


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