T5W: Books I wish had sequels

Apparently once every three months or so is my limit for how often I can do Top 5 Wednesday posts – which is a shame, because I really enjoy putting them together… And this month in particular there were several interesting themes that I would’ve liked to have done a post for, if only my blogging schedule hadn’t been packed already. 😦 But anyway! Today’s theme is books you wish had sequels, or series that you wish weren’t over, which is a very common wish on my part! 😛

Victoria Hanley//The Seer & the Sword5) The Seer & the Sword by Victoria Hanley

This book is one of my oldest favourites, but somehow I’ve never mentioned it on this blog before. It follows a young princess called Torina who – when her father returns from the war with the neighbouring country of Bellandra – is given two gifts: A crystal ball that shows her visions, and Bellandra’s prince, Landen, as a slave. The former of these she keeps, the latter she frees, and what follows is a beautiful and heart-breaking love story, with a compelling plot and plenty of interesting fantasy-world-politics. There are actually two more books in this series (which I haven’t read yet) but unfortunately they’re companions rather than true sequels… 😦

Philip Pullman//Northern Lights4) The His Dark Materials series by Philip Pullman

His Dark Materials is a beautiful series, and in truth I wouldn’t want to change a single word of it; not even then ending, which broke my heart, and which I’ve been griping about endlessly to all my friends for the last fifteen years or so… ^^’ The ending in question was incredibly bittersweet, with Will and Lyra struggling to come up with solution after solution, only to realise that there’s no magical fix-it to be found. So, yeah, it’d be nice to have a sequel, even if it’s just in short story-form, to provide some kind of closure beyond a garden bench. 😥

Rainbow Rowell//Eleanor & Park3) Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

This is an interesting one, because I did really like the way Rowell decided to wrap-up the story, but at the same time, I really wanted something more. Like, maybe a reunion? “Will there be a sequel?” seems to be a question that Rowell gets asked a lot (it’s even in the FAQ section on her website), so I know I’m not alone in wanting one, but the answer still seems rather up-in-the-air. I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed. 🙂

Rainbow Rowell//Carry On2) Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Another Rainbow Rowell book, I know! ^^’ I usually prefer not to put authors on these lists more than once, but I couldn’t help it; Carry On and Eleanor & Park were the first things that popped into my head when I saw this theme, and I want them both to have sequels so badly. With Carry On, my wishes are a little more outrageous, however: Yes, I want a sequel (Simon & Baz after Watford!), but I also want prequels (Lucy & the Mage, anyone? And, of course, Simon’s first seven years at Watford), and maybe even a next-generation spin-off stage show? 😉 In short, I want it to be the Harry Potter-like phenomenon that was described in Fangirl – even though it’s never going to happen. 😦

Elizabeth Gaskell//North & South1) North & South by Elizabeth Gaskell

And lastly, a classic! I love this book so much (and you should read my review if you haven’t already *hinthint*), but the ending was so abrupt! Some interesting trivia regarding that, however: North & South was initially published as a serial, and due to lagging sales (partially because the book was in direct competition with Charles Dickens’ Hard Times, which had a similar subject matter and was being serialised at the same time), Gaskell was “compelled” to finish the story in 20 chapters instead of the 22 that she’d planned. Maybe those two extra chapters would’ve contained the ending I – and so many North & South fans – so desperately want! (Curse you, Charles Dickens! 😡 )

[Top 5 Wednesday was created by gingerreadslainey, and is run by Sam from ThoughtsOnTomes. To find out more or join in, check out the Goodreads group.]

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Thematic Recs: Bullying (for #AntiBullyReads)

I was initially planning on posting a review today, but (surprise, surprise) I still haven’t finished the book I was hoping to review. 😳 So, instead – and since I’m still in the middle of the Anti-Bullying Readathon, and have therefore been thinking about bullying a lot – I thought I’d bring you another thematic recs list! 🙂 The bullying in all these books is pretty prominent, if not the main focus of the story, but I’ve tried to pick out books that will (I hope) appeal to a variety of different people – and, of course, they’re also some of my favourite books on this topic!

Susan Hill//I'm the King of the Castle1) I’m the King of the Castle by Susan Hill. A chilling story that I first read as a set text in school. I’m the King of the Castle follows a young boy called Hooper, who lives alone with his distant father in a cold, remote house – until his father hires a new housekeeper, who brings her her son, Kingshaw. Resenting Kingshaw’s presence in his home, Hooper proceeds to bully him mercilessly, and the main focus of the story is on the relationship between the two boys.

Fanny Britt & Isabelle Arsenault//Jane, the Fox & Me2) Jane, the Fox & Me by Fanny Britt & Isabelle Arsenault. The story of a girl called Hélène, who is bullied by her former friends because of her weight – and consequently spends her days escaping into books (Jane Eyre specifically). A beautifully drawn and written graphic novel, with an incredibly touching story.

Laurie Halse Anderson//Speak3) Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. Another story about being ostracised by people that the main character once called friends. Starting a new year at school, Melinda finds that all her friends are ignoring her, angry that she called the police on a party over the summer. With no one to speak to, she withdraws into her own mind, but that makes it difficult for her to hide from a memory that she’d rather forget – the real reason why she busted that party. Heart-wrenching and incredibly powerful; I’d recommend this book to pretty much anyone.

Jay Asher//13 Reasons Why4) Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher. This book is about Hannah, a teenage girl who committed suicide not long before the story begins – before she died, however, she recorded a series of tapes, and posted them out to the people who she held responsible for her death. The story is half-told by Hannah herself, in the form of her tapes, while the other half of the story is told from the perspective of a boy called Clay, who is one of the people who receives them… A unique and fascinating story about how seemingly-small things can have a huge effect on people’s lives.

Rainbow Rowell//Eleanor & Park5) Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. Last but by no means least, one of my favourite books of all time! Eleanor & Park follows two teenagers meeting and falling in love for the first time, and both having to deal with varying degrees of mockery because of that. Eleanor, in particular, faces a lot of bullying – from her awful stepfather, to people at school who make fun of her for her weight. Rowell’s writing is brilliant, and her characters, as always, are spot-on. Highly, highly recommended.

2014 in Review: Some Favourites

2014 was a pretty good year for me: I managed to read a lot more than I think I ever have before (158 books in total), and there’ve only been a couple of those books that I didn’t enjoy; I also managed to get back into one of my favourite genres – high fantasy – and I spent about two months reading it almost exclusively. There are a few things that I’ve disappointed myself on, too, like that I still haven’t finished reading Patrick Ness’ Chaos Walking trilogy… Most importantly, though (in my opinion), is that I’ve discovered several new favourites this year, so I thought I’d share some of the year’s highlights with you all today!

Rick Riordan//The House of HadesThe very first book I read this year was The House of Hades by Rick Riordan, the fourth book in the Heroes of Olympus series, which I already loved – but this one was my absolute favourite, and it definitely started off the year on a high point.

Rainbow Rowell//Eleanor & ParkEleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell was the other great book that I discovered before I went off to China, and I’m really glad that I did, since it was a very accidental discovery: I only actually bought this book because I couldn’t find a copy of Fangirl!

Brandon Sanderson//The Final EmpirePAtrick Rothfuss//The Name of the WindAnd since I mentioned my obsessive high fantasy phase already, I should mention that during it I managed to discover (and marathon) two of my new favourite fantasy series: The Mistborn trilogy by Brandon Sanderson, and The Kingkiller Chronicle by Patrick Rothfuss. Both series have incredibly engrossing plotlines, and (as I’m sure I’ve said before) some of the best world-building I’ve ever seen.

Markus Zusak//The Book ThiefThe Book Thief by Markus Zusak is (as far as I can recall) the only book that has ever made me cry. I only read it by chance, since one of my friends happened to have a copy that they were willing to lend me, but I vividly remember reading the last fifty pages or so of the book and being in floods of tears the whole time, just praying that another of my friends wouldn’t turn around and see me, and then decide she didn’t want to read the book after all… 😥

Marissa Meyer//CressMy most recent amazing discovery was The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. I went through a bit of a fairytale phase a little while ago (and I’m actually not entirely sure that I’ve got through it yet…), and picked up this series because they’d been generating a lot of buzz on Booktube, but (not being much of a sci-fi fan) I had no clue that I’d like them as much as I did! The third book, Cress, is my favourite in the series so far, and I can’t wait for the conclusion!

Thematic Recs: Sad Contemporary

I was actually planning for my main post this week to be a review of Sally Green’s Half Bad, but, alas, I seem to have entered a slight reading slump, & I still haven’t finished it yet… 😦 So I’ve decided to start off a new series of posts that I’ve been planning – thematic recs! They’ll be short lists of books (3-4 each) that I liked, which fit into certain different categories, & some of them will probably be super-specific.

This one was pretty hard to narrow down, as quite a few of my favourite books are sad contemporaries (and there are tonnes more that are also really well done), but here’s four of them to start you off:

Stephen Chbosky//Perks of Being a Wallflower1) The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky follows a teenage boy named Charlie, who is just starting high school and doesn’t really know how to go about making friends. He’s also dealing with some personal issues at the same time, and has actually just got out of hospital when the book starts. The whole book is written as letters, which is something that usually annoys me in novels, but this one is incredibly well done. There was also a film adaptation released quite recently (last year?), and that’s very good, too.

Rainbow Rowell//Eleanor & Park2) Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell is a slow-burning love story between two teenagers (called Eleanor and Park, as I’m sure you could tell), which deals with themes like bullying and domestic abuse. I can’t tell you too much more about it without entering spoiler territory, but it was amazing to read. Also, Rainbow Rowell’s writing is like some kind of drug – every word made me deliriously happy.

Laurie Halse Anderson//Speak3) Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. Another one where telling you too much before you start would spoil it slightly, but I can tell you that this is probably the most emotionally hard-hitting of all the books on this list. It follows a girl named Melinda, who’s starting a new year at school, but has for various reasons been abandoned by all her friends. Sarah Dessen’s Just Listen progresses along a similar vein, but is considerably lighter, if Speak is too heavy for you.

Rodman Philbrick//Freak the Mighty4) Freak the Mighty by Rodman Philbrick is probably the most obscure book on this list. It’s about two boys: Max, who is large but slow-learning, and his neighbour Kevin, who is incredibly intelligent but crippled. Both boys have significant problems both at school and at home, and they use their imaginations to escape from it. The  story of their growing friendship is sad but also incredibly touching.