The Bookish Alphabet Tag

This tag was created by Mariana at fireheartbooks, and I was tagged by the wonderful Loreva from La Book Dreamer, whose blog you should all definitely check out! The goal is to pick out a book for every letter of the alphabet, and the only rule is that you need to own (or to have previously owned and read) every book on the list. You also don’t need to include articles, e.g. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess would count for “C” rather than “A”.

So, without further ado:

MY BOOKISH ALPHABET

The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud

Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Daughter of Storms by Louise Cooper

Emma by Jane Austen

Fire by Kristin Cashore

The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey

Half Wild by Sally Green

The Iron Trial by Holly Black & Cassandra Clare

Just Listen by Sarah Dessen

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

Let It Snow by John Green, Lauren Myracle & Maureen Johnson

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews

Night Owls by Jenn Bennett

Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder

Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas

River Daughter by Jane Hardstaff

A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin

A Traveller in Time by Alison Uttley

Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis

Wild Magic by Tamora Pierce

xxxHolic by CLAMP

Young Blood by Meg Cabot

Zombie-Loan by Peach-Pit

Phew. That was a lot of books! ^^’ But I’m pleased to say that I have read all of these books, and I still own them all except for Unravel Me, which I gave to one of my cousins, and River Daughter, which I donated (it was a good book, I just couldn’t imagine myself reading it again). And I did have to break out my manga collection for “X” and “Z” – something I’d been hoping I wouldn’t have to do – but I regret nothing. 😎

I tag:

 

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May Wrap Up

For me, May was a really great reading month, especially for graphic novels, and for library books (most of which I’ve had checked out for way too long without picking them up… 😳 ). I’m going to Iceland near the beginning of June, and I don’t know how much I’ll be able to read while I’m away, but hopefully I’ll be able to keep this momentum going! Overall (including the #CRUSHYOURTBR readathon), I read 11 novels, 7 comics/graphic novels, and 10 short stories, and I also listened to 1 audiobook. 😀

Melissa Grey//The Girl at MidnightThe Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey. The first book in a new series, which follows a human pickpocket called Echo who’s been raised as part of a hidden world, where there’s an ancient war going on between two species: The bird-like Avicen, and the dragon-like Drakharin. The story’s plot centres around something called the firebird – which has been prophesised to be able to end the war – and Echo’s search for it, with a rather motley crew along for the ride. I really enjoyed this book: The story was really solid, and the characters were amazing (my favourites were Dorian and Caius). 😀 It was fast-paced enough to keep me gripped, but slow enough to allow for proper character development. My only real problem with it was the portrayal of Rowan – he never really felt like a viable love interest for Echo, since he only appeared in three or four scenes… But then again, that was probably for the best, since the book teetered on the edge of being over-crowded…4 stars

Jay Asher//13 Reasons WhyThirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher. A story about the suicide of a girl called Hannah, told through the cassette tapes that she left behind, sent out to the people she holds responsible for the events leading up to her death. We hear the tapes alongside Clay, one of the people on her list. I’d been on the edge about whether or not to read this for a while, but I decided to pick it up as an audiobook after reading wander-ful worlds’ review, and I’m really glad I did – both the narrators (who played Clay and Hannah) were excellent, and it seemed really fitting to be listening to the story, since so much of it was about listening. However, a lot of the time while I was listening to it, I felt that it was really written more to make a point than to tell a story, and consequently the story itself wasn’t that brilliant. That said, it did make its point really well, and it was very thought-provoking, particularly on the topic of gossip, and how actions that you think are insignificant can actually have a powerful effect on other people’s lives.3 starsBill Willingham//Fables vol. 2Fables Volume 2: Animal Farm by Bill Willingham. This volume followed Snow White and Rose Red on a visit to the Fabletown Farm (which is home to the Fable who can’t blend in with human society), where a revolution is brewing. It was a great introduction to some of the non-human Fables, like the Three Little Pigs and Reynard the Fox, and the obvious allusions to George Orwell’s Animal Farm were fun. There’s quite a few character deaths in this one, though, so it’s probably not one for the squeamish. 😛4 starsJulie Kagawa//RogueRogue by Julie Kagawa. The sequel to Talon, featuring Ember now on the run from both Talon and the Order of St. George! The story was really action-packed, and the character development was great as well – I particularly liked how Ember seemed to grow up a lot towards the end of the book, and I enjoyed getting to know Riley a lot better. Dante’s character is still a little difficult to pin down, but I remain hopeful, and I’m definitely looking forward to the next book! 😀4 stars

Tamora Pierce//The Will of the EmpressThe Will of the Empress by Tamora Pierce. The first of the Circle Reforged companion books (though chronologically it takes place after Battle Magic), which is part of the Emelan universe and follows on from the Circle of Magic and The Circle Opens series. These books follow a group of young mages – Sandry, Tris, Daja and Briar – as they grow up and face the various different challenges that life has to offer. I first read this book several years ago, but I’d been meaning to re-read it for the longest time, so I finally decided to pick it up~ 😛 And I’m really glad I did! It’s my second favourite of all Tamora Pierce’s books, after Street Magic (which says quite a bit, since that’s probably my favourite book of all time, and Tamora Pierce is my favourite author), and it was just as amazing as I remember it being!5+ stars

Terry Pratchett//MortChuck Dixon & Scott Beatty//Batgirl/Robin: Year OneTamora Pierce//Tortall & Other LandsLaurell K. Hamilton//The HarlequinThese are all the books that I managed to finish for #CRUSHYOURTBR, but I’ve already talked in detail about them in my wrap-up for that readathon, so you should check that out if you’re interested. In order, my overall ratings for each book were:

4 stars  5 stars  3 stars  4 stars

Malorie Blackman//CallumCallum by Malorie Blackman. A brief novella that presents an alternative version of one of the events in Noughts and Crosses: What if Callum and Sephy ran away together when she was captured by the Liberation Militia? It’s been way too long since I read the main books in this series, as I had trouble remembering everything that led up to the beginning of this story… But I still liked it, and I’d definitely recommend it for fans of the Noughts and Crosses series. 🙂3 starsGeoff Johns//Aquaman vol. 2Aquaman Volume 2: The Others by Geoff Johns. It’s been so long since I read the first volume of this series, that I’d forgotten just how amazing it is! This volume gives us some backstory, as a treasure hunter called Black Manta is hunting down members of Aquaman’s old team in order to steal the royal Atlantean relics that they possess.5 starsGeoff Johns//Aquaman vol. 3Aquaman Volume 3: Throne of Atlantis by Geoff Johns. This volume covered the whole of the Throne of Atlantis crossover with Justice League, where Atlantis attacks the surface world in retaliation against a missile strike that accidentally detonated in the sea. Once again, it had a well thought-out plotline, great characters, and amazing art. This is definitely one of the best titles that’s come out of the DC in recent years.5 starsJonathan Stroud//The Ring of SolomonThe Ring of Solomon by Jonathan Stroud. The prequel to the Bartimaeus trilogy, this book follows the djinni Bartimaeus’ adventures in ancient Jerusalem, where he is enslaved to one of King Solomon’s magicians. The second protagonist is a young Sheban guardswoman called Asmira, who has been sent by her queen to Jerusalem in order to assassinate Solomon and steal his ring (a powerful magical object that seems to grant wishes). This book suffered from the lack of Nathaniel (understandably so, since it’s set several thousand years before his birth), but thankfully Asmira grew on me a lot – I certainly liked her a lot better than Kitty! – and the story, while slow to get started, really picked up once Asmira and Bartimaeus crossed paths. My favourite part was, the footnotes in Bartimaeus’ chapters, where his sarcasm really shone through… 😛 I went into this book fully prepared to find it lacklustre, so I was very pleasantly surprised! 😀4 stars

Robin McKinley//BeautyBeauty by Robin McKinley. A pretty straight-up retelling of Beauty & the Beast, but done much better than most of the re-imaginings I’ve come across lately (e.g. Breath of Life and Dragon Rose by Christine Pope, or even Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge…). Beauty (who is actually called Honour 😛 ) was a wonderful character, and I loved the slow, realistic development of her relationship with Beast. Her family were really great, too, and Beast’s invisible servants made me chuckle. My only real complaint is that the ending was rather quick – several big events took place in the space of a few pages, and then the book just ended… 😦4 starsDanica Novgorodoff//The Undertaking of Lily ChenThe Undertaking of Lily Chen by Danica Novgorodoff. A graphic novel about a tradition from Northern China in which, when an unmarried man dies, the body of a young woman must be found for him, so that a ghost wedding can take place. The main character in this story is a young man called Deshi, who has been tasked to find a corpse bride for his recently-deceased brother… A really intriguing story, with great characters and a haunting storyline. The only thing I wasn’t a huge fan of was the character design, but even that I got used to eventually. My favourite thing about this comic was probably the watercolour panels, which were incredibly beautiful.4 starsChristi Caldwell//For the Love of the DukeFor Love of the Duke by Christi Caldwell. A Regency-era romance between Jasper – a Duke who shut himself away after the death of his first wife – and Katherine – a young lady trying to escape from an arranged marriage and her controlling mother. For a bodice-ripper, this was remarkably well-written, with characters that I actually really liked and got quite invested in. It also featured one of the most hilarious (intentionally, I think) proposal scenes I’ve ever read. 😛 Obviously, though, I wouldn’t recommend it for younger readers.4 starsChristi Caldwell//In Need of a DukeIn Need of a Duke by Christi Caldwell. The prequel to For Love of the Duke, which follows Katherine’s older sister Aldora, as she tries to secure herself a comfortable marriage with the Marquess of St. James, and ends up falling for his disgraced younger brother Michael instead… Not quite as good as For the Love of the Duke (naturally, since this was so much shorter), but still a lot of fun.3 starsChristi Caldwell//More than a DukeMore than a Duke by Christi Caldwell. The second book in the Heart of a Duke series, which focuses on Katherine’s twin sister Anne, who persuades Harry, the Earl of Stanhope, to teach her how to win the hand of the Duke of Crawford. This book reminded me a lot of North & South, in that actual words (as opposed to constant teasing) would’ve taken care of most of the conflict in the story… That said, I enjoyed it a lot. The dynamic between Anne and Harry was brilliant, and I appreciated getting to know the girls’ mother a bit better – even if that knowledge only led me to think that she’s a bitter, manipulative harpy. 😛3 starsChristi Caldwell//The Love of a RogueThe Love of a Rogue by Christi Caldwell. The third book in the Heart of a Duke series. This one follows Alex, the best friend of Harry from More than a Duke, who is forced by his brother to be a chaperone for his younger sister, and ends up falling for her best friend Imogen. I really liked Alex in the last book, so I was looking forward to reading this one, and I think that Imogen is probably my favourite of the heroines so far. The Love of a Rogue was a lot of fun to read, but I wish it’d been a bit longer, and that more focus had been put on the strained relationship between Imogen and her sister…3 starsChristi Caldwell//Loved by a DukeLoved by a Duke by Christi Caldwell. The fourth (and final?) book in the Heart of a Duke series, following Auric, the Duke of Crawford (who was the other side character that I really liked in More than a Duke), and Daisy, the sister of his childhood friend who passed away. Probably the best thing about this book is that it the romance wasn’t the only point of the plot – it also dealt heavily with grief, as Auric blames himself for the death of Daisy’s brother. The writing was also pretty solid, and the book was a good length… I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as For Love of the Duke, though, objectively speaking, I think it’s probably the best in the series. They’re all rather similar, to be honest…3 starsMike Richardson//47 Ronin47 Ronin by Mike Richardson. A graphic novel of the (true!) Japanese story of 47 samurai who swore to avenge the death of their lord, Asano, when he was unfairly sentenced to commit seppuku (a form of ritual suicide). It’s definitely a good story, but I think it would have come across better if it had been a bit longer. There were just so many characters that it was difficult to distinguish between them, and only Oishi (Lord Asano’s chief retainer) really stood out from the crowd. That said, I really liked the little epilogue-scene at the end, and the art (by Stan Sakai) was interesting, too, though it took a little while to get used to.3 stars

#CRUSHYOURTBR: Wrap-Up

The readathon is now sadly over, but I had a good three reading days, and I think I did quite well overall! I managed to finish three of the five books on my TBR, as well as one other that I wasn’t planning on reading for #CRUSHYOURTBR, and I also managed to get through a couple more chapters of a fourth book from my list. 😀 Here’s a breakdown of the books I read this weekend:

DAY 1 (161 pages)

Terry Pratchett//MortMort by Terry Pratchett (the final 190 pages). The story of a boy called Mort who gets hired as an apprentice to Death, and on his first day taking on the duties of Death by himself, he accidentally saves the life of someone who was meant to die, which has some very bizarre consequences on the Discworld. This book was hilarious, as all Terry Pratchett’s books that I’ve read have been. The main characters – Mort, Death, his daughter Ysabell and his servant Albert, the Princess Keli, and the wizard Cutwell – were all brilliant to read about, and the story and setting were delightfully weird.4 stars

Nawat by Tamora Pierce (71 pages, from the Tortall and Other Lands anthology). A follow-up novella to the Daughter of the Lioness duology, wherein Aly gives birth to triplets, and she and Nawat (a crow who’s taken human form) try to raise them according to both their human and crow heritages. This was probably my favourite story in the whole anthology, despite the fact that I wasn’t as keen on the Daughter of the Lioness books as I have been on some of Tamora Pierce’s other works… Nevertheless, it was a really cute and funny read.4 stars

DAY 2 (584 pages)

The Dragon’s Tale by Tamora Pierce (62 pages, from Tortall and Other Lands). This one is set sometime after the events of The Immortals quartet, and follows Kitten, the baby dragon that Daine adopted in Wild Magic, as she tries to befriend a young homeless woman who’s been cast out of the nearby village with her infant son, because the villagers are afraid of her magic. I wasn’t a huge fan of Kitten’s voice in this, but otherwise I thought it was very well done. Fans of The Immortals quartet will undoubtedly like it a lot, but I don’t think it was quite as good as Nawat3 stars

At this point, I picked up The Harlequin, and I managed to get through 80 pages of it, but since this series isn’t exactly safe for work, I decided not to take it with me while I was at work all afternoon, then babysitting. 😛 So…

Lost by Tamora Pierce (41 pages, fromTortall and Other Lands). The last of the Tortall-universe stories in the collection, Lost didn’t feature any familiar characters from her previous books, but instead focused on a young but talented mathematician called Adria, living with her abusive father, who one day meets a darking called Lost. This story was really sweet (darkings are so cute!), and all the characters were very relatable – it would’ve been nice if Adria had done a bit more to try to save herself, but it was really great seeing Lost try to help her regain confidence in herself and her abilities.4 stars

Chuck Dixon & Scott Beatty//Batgirl/Robin: Year OneBatgirl / Robin: Year One by Chuck Dixon & Scott Beatty (the final 374 pages). The origin stories of both Dick Grayson (the first Robin) and Barbara Gordon (the first Batgirl). Dick’s story involves a plot by Two-Face (with some input from Shrike, of the League of Assassins), while Barbara has to face off against Killer Moth and Firefly, but both are really engrossing – fast-paced and well-thought out, with great art and character development. I liked the Batgirl comic a little better than the Robin one (which probably only really deserved 4 stars), but they were both excellent.5 stars

Time of Proving by Tamora Pierce (9 pages, from Tortall and Other Lands). A very short story about a girl travelling in the desert, who meets a wounded bull-man and decides to teach him how to survive in the wild. This was an interesting story, and I liked the characters a lot, but it was just much too short, and would really have benefitted from having the world a bit more fleshed-out…3 starsPlain Magic by Tamora Pierce (18 pages, from Tortall and Other Lands). Another snapshot of a story, this time about a girl living in a town that’s about to be attacked by a dragon, and how she meets a woman who has magic with cloth and thread. This was a little more substantial than Time of Proving, so I was able to get a bit more into it – it reminded me a lot of Sandry, from Tamora Pierce’s Circle of Magic books, though I know they’re not actually connected… 😛4 stars

DAY 3 (242 pages)

Mimic by Tamora Pierce (42 pages, from Tortall and Other Lands). The story of a young shepherd girl who finds a strange lizard-like creature that can mimic other animals, and nurses it back to health. This was one of the anthology’s stronger stories – the characters were likeable and well-developed, and I got emotionally invested enough that the ending made me quite sad (though it’s not a sad story overall). I’d definitely like to see more from this universe!4 stars

Laurell K. Hamilton//The HarlequinThe Harlequin by Laurell K. Hamilton (the final 104 pages). Anita and co. are sent a white mask, which means that the Harlequin (the vampires’ equivalent to the bogeyman, but real) are watching them. And things escalate from there. I can’t believe how long it’s taken me to read this book! 😡 I think I’ve been around halfway through it for about three years or so, so I was pretty surprised that I still remembered what was going on (& therefore, thankfully, I didn’t need to re-start it). And reading it really brought back just how much I love most of the characters in this series (though, just for the record, I still think there are way too many of them…) It’s such a shame that, story-wise the books have gone so far downhill – there was a plot in The Harlequin, but about half of the book was still taken up with all Anita’s relationship issues. (And sex. Lots and lots of sex. Apparently I was right in the middle of a sex scene when I last put this down, so that made for an interesting place to start… 😳 ). I still don’t know if I’m going to read any more of this series, but if I do, then I’ll definitely be picking them up at the library rather than buying them…3 stars

Huntress by Tamora Pierce (26 pages, from Tortall and Other Lands). A story set in modern-day New York, about a girl who gets into huge trouble while trying to fit in with the popular crowd at her school. The real world isn’t something Tamora Pierce usually writes about, but there was a little magic in this, in the form of a goddess who shows up at the end. It was also rather more violent than most of what I’ve read of her work, though I still quite liked it… 🙂

3 stars

Testing by Tamora Pierce (24 pages, from Tortall and Other Lands). This is the last of the short stories in the collection, and has no fantasy elements at all, much to my surprise! 😮 It tells the story of a group of girls in a group home, who pull pranks in order to scare off their new housemothers, and of one particular housemother who manages to surprise them. I didn’t think it was a bad story, exactly, but it did drag rather, and it felt a lot longer than the 24 pages that it actually was. It apparently drew partly on some of Tamora Pierce’s own experiences as a housemother, and I appreciated the brief notes section that came before it in the book…

2 stars

Lastly, I picked up The Ring of Solomon by Jonathan Stroud in the last few hours of Sunday, but I only managed to get through 46 pages, so I guess I’ll be finishing that in the next few days…

#CRUSHYOURTBR: Info & TBR

The Crush Your TBR readathon will be taking place this weekend, from Friday 15th – Sunday 17th May, and I’m planning on taking part, so I thought I’d let you know about it! 🙂 It’s hosted by padfootandprongs07 and jacquelynreads, and it seems to be a mostly twitter-based readathon (though, since I don’t have a twitter account, I won’t be joining in with that part of it). You can find the announcement/information video here.

Since it’s a pretty low-key event, there aren’t any official challenges (except, obviously, to read lots of books from your TBR), but I thought it would be fun to have a general theme to my TBR this time. So, my own personal rules are these: 1) I can only include books that I own physical copies of, and 2) I should focus on DNF books (books that I put down halfway through reading, for whatever reason – DNF, for those who don’t already know, stands for Did Not Finish).

Last of all, here’s my tentative TBR:

Laurell K. Hamilton//The Harlequin1) The Harlequin by Laurell K. Hamilton. The 15th book in the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series, which I’m just over halfway through. This one I’ve picked up and put down a few times already, but I’m not quite ready to give up on it yet. I’m thinking of dropping this series after The Harlequin, though… it’s just gone on for way too long. :/

Chuck Dixon & Scott Beatty//Batgirl/Robin: Year One2) Batgirl / Robin: Year One by Chuck Dixon and Scott Beatty. I’m only a couple of chapters into this one at the moment, but since it’s a graphic novel, it should be a quick read. 🙂

Jonathan Stroud//The Ring of Solomon3) The Ring of Solomon by Jonathan Stroud. The prequel to the Bartimaeus trilogy, which I put down because I didn’t feel that it was living up to the original series… I’m a quarter of the way through it at the moment.

David Mitchell//Cloud Atlas4) Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. I read about 100 pages of this last year (or maybe even earlier), then got distracted by something shinier, but I’m really looking forward to getting back to it.

Tamora Pierce//Tortall & Other Lands5) And lastly, I’m planning on breaking up my reading with some short stories from Tortall and Other Lands by Tamora Pierce, which I’m about a quarter of the way through.

Obviously I’m not going to be able to finish all of these in just three days, but I’m hoping that I’ll at least be able to shift a few of them off my excessively large “currently reading” shelf on Goodreads… 😳