The Classics Book Tag!

This tag was created by Vienna at It’s a Book World, and you can find the original post here. I wasn’t tagged by anyone (I just wanted to do this for fun~ 🙂 ), but I first came across it on the youtube channel perpetualpages. Now onto the tag!

1) What’s an over-hyped classic that you didn’t like?

George Orwell//1984Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell. I wouldn’t say that it was over-hyped, exactly, so much as just not really to my taste. It made its point very well, and it was certainly interesting, I just didn’t enjoy it all that much.

2) What’s your favourite time period to read about?

Probably Regency England, as that was the time period Jane Austen wrote about, but to be honest I don’t really have a favourite time period. With me, it’s always more about the story than the setting.

3) What’s your favourite fairytale?

Growing up, I was particularly attached to the The Swan Princess (a cartoon adaptation of Swan Lake, which was itself adapted from a Russian folk-tale, though it seems uncertain which one or ones), as well as the Disney version of Robin Hood (I didn’t read all that much when I was little). These days, I’m probably most fond of The Goose Girl and Beauty and the Beast

4) What classic are you most embarrassed not to have read yet?

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë, without a doubt. I’ve been meaning to read it for such a long time, and so many people have told me that it’s their favourite classic…

5) What are the top five classics that you would like to read soon?

Jane Austen//Persuasion Thomas Hardy//Tess of the D'Urbervilles Charlotte Brontë//Jane Eyre Bram Stoker//Dracula Sarah Grand//The Heavenly Twins

6) What’s your favourite modern book (or series) that’s based on a classic?

Marissa Meyer//Cinder(Having not read very many of these, I’ll be going back to fairytales for this question!) Marissa Meyer’s The Lunar Chronicles are the first thing to come to mind, since they’re fantastic. The first three books in the series are based on, respectively, CinderellaLittle Red Riding Hood and Rapunzel.

Shannon Hale//The Goose GirlPhilip Pullman’s I was a Rat! is another great take on Cinderella, as is Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levigne, and Shannon Hale has also written a great series called The Books of Bayern, the first of which is based on the Brothers Grimm tale, The Goose Girl.

7) What’s your favourite film or TV adaptation of a classic?

Pride & Prejudice

Ehle & Firth as Elizabeth & Mr. Darcy.

There a several that I really love, but the one I always come back to is the 1995 BBC mini-series of Pride & Prejudice, starring Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle.

A couple of honourable mentions: The 2004 adaptation of North & South, with Daniela Denby-Ashe and Richard Armitage, and the 1979 take on the Flambards series, with Christine McKenna.

8) What’s your least favourite film or TV adaptation?

Usually if I don’t like an adaptation, then I’ll stop watching it, so there aren’t really any that I can really say I hated, but what I saw of the 1975 version of North & South  (with Patrick Stewart) was so bad it was funny, and I also wasn’t a huge fan of the 2005 movie of Pride & Prejudice (with Keira Knightly & Matthew Macfadyen) – the imagery was beautiful, but the story was far too rushed…

9) What editions do you/would you like to collect?

The Folio Society publishes beautiful editions of most classics, but they tend to be rather pricey, so...

The Folio Society publishes beautiful editions of most classics, but they tend to be rather pricey, so…

... I will often pick the Vintage Classics editions instead.

… I usually buy the (also very lovely) Vintage Classics editions instead.

10) What’s an under-hyped classic that you’d recommend to everyone?

Alison Uttley//A Traveller in TimeMost of my all-time favourites are very well-known (Pride & PrejudiceEmmaNorth & South, etc.), but one that I don’t often hear people talking about is Alison Uttley’s A Traveller in Time, which tells the story of a girl called Penelope who finds herself slipping back and forth between 1934 and the 16th century, where Mary, Queen of Scots is imprisoned in Chartley Castle. It’s a really wonderful book, and its a shame that not that many people seem to have read it…

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Thematic Recs: Robots!

I watched Wall-E for the first time earlier this week, and it made me feel all kinds of things, in the usual way of Pixar films. But it also got me thinking about how, even though I’m really not much of a Sci-Fi person, I really, really love robots (and cyborgs and androids and their ilk), and often, when I do read Sci-Fi, the robot characters end up being my favourites. So, for your enjoyment, here are a few of my favourite fictional robot (and others) stories!

Philip Reeve//Mortal Engines1) The Hungry City Chronicles by Philip Reeve. A steampunk adventure story, set in a future where huge cities wander around, churning up the ground and eating each other. I mentioned Shrike quite recently in my Top 5 Anti-Heroes post, but he’s definitely worth mentioning a second time. Shrike is a creature called a Stalker; part machine and part corpse, but (to a certain degree) retaining his personality from his previous life.

Marissa Meyer//Cinder2) The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. This is a series of fairytale retellings, set in a future where Earth is on the brink of war with the Moon. The main character, Cinder, is a cyborg (a human with several cybernetic limbs, and a control panel in her brain), and she also has an adorably quirky android friend called Iko.

Garth Nix//Shade's Children

3) Shade’s Children by Garth Nix. Another futuristic novel, but this time a dystopian! Shade’s Children is set in a world where children are raised in facilities, and once they reach a certain age, they’re taken away so their brains and muscles can be harvested to make monsters. The robot character in this one is perhaps not really a robot: Shade himself, who takes in runaway children and protects them, is actually a scientist who downloaded his personality into a computer in order to survive in this world-without-adults.

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!

Upcoming Releases: Winter 2014-15

My last Upcoming Releases post was rather long-winded, and didn’t have much in the way of solid dates… so I thought I’d make this a quarterly thing – this one will cover December 2014 – February 2015. One of the books being released this winter I’ve already mentioned, but all the others are sparkly new things to get excited about. What books are you most looking forward to this winter? Be sure to let me know in the comments!

[NB: All dates are taken from Amazon UK unless stated otherwise, and are correct as of 27/11/2014.]

Katie McGarry//Breaking the RulesBreaking the Rules by Katie McGarry (8th December)

This is the fifth and (probably) final book in the Pushing the Limits series, which is made up of companion novels, instead of forming an overarching storyline. Chronologically, this book will be set between the first two books in the series (around the same time as the novella, Crossing the Line), but instead of focusing on a new couple, as most of the books in the series have, we’ll be returning to Noah and Echo, the main protagonists from Pushing the Limits, which I’m personally really excited about. Noah and Echo remain my favourite couple in the series, and I’m really looking forward to seeing them in a more settled relationship.

Neil Gaiman//Hansel & GretelHansel & Gretel by Neil Gaiman (11th December)

I think this may actually be out in some places already, since Goodreads lists an October release date, but in any case, I haven’t seen it in shops yet. This is a retelling of the classic fairytale of the same name, and I don’t know that there’s going to be any particular new spin on the story, but Neil Gaiman’s haunting writing should make this book wonderfully atmospheric. It’s also illustrated by Lorenzo Mattotti, and I’m not familiar with his work, but if the cover’s any indication, it’ll be a perfect fit. Fans of The Sleeper and the Spindle (released earlier this year) will probably want a copy of Hansel & Gretel.

Marissa Meyer//FairestFairest by Marissa Meyer (27th January)

Probably my most-anticipated of the books in this post, though it’s only a novella… Fairest is set in the Lunar Chronicles universe, and is essentially an origin story for Levana, the cruel Lunar queen. It is, I suspect, based on the tale of Snow White, and my hope is that it will tell us more about the relationship between Levana and her stepdaughter Winter. It’s a little disappointing that we’re not getting the final Lunar Chronicles book for a while, but hopefully Fairest will help to fill that hole while we wait for Winter.

Francesca Haig//The Fire SermonThe Fire Sermon by Francesca Haig (26th February)

This is the first book in a new dystopian, post-apocalyptic series, set in a world where all humans are twins – one physically perfect Alpha, and one mutated Omega – who are separated into camps by society. Some of the reviewers I follow have already received ARCs of this book, which makes me incredibly jealous, and all the reviews I’ve seen so far have had very good things to say.

November Wrap-Up

Cassandra Clare//Clockwork PrinceNovember feels like it went by way too fast… :/ & I didn’t actually do all that much reading in the latter part of the month, because the new Pokémon games came out, and I was first caught up in excitement, then in playing the games (which are awesome, by the way). Nevertheless, I managed to read a grand total of 11 books in November, as well as 3 short stories – and this is them:

Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare. I had so many feelings about this book that I actually ended up writing a mini-review, which you can read here.5 stars

Cassandra Clare//Clockwork PrincessClockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare. Needless to say, I went straight on to the sequel, which answered all my questions (even the ones I hadn’t realised I was wondering about). I wasn’t entirely satisfied with the way Jem’s storyline seemed to be wrapping up, but that little niggle was thankfully fixed in the epilogue, and my only other  problem with the book was the Will’s-greatest-hits montage at the end, which I thought was a little cheesy… But that was just a tiny, tiny thing, & easily overlooked. It does make me really, really eager to read The Mortal Instruments book now, but I think I need to take a little break (& maybe read some of the books that I already own) first…5 stars

Morgan Matson//Amy & Roger's Epic DetourAmy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson. A sweet, but sad contemporary road trip novel. I really loved both Amy & Roger, as well as most of the many, many people they met on their trip, and I particularly loved that Morgan Matson included loads of photos and reciepts and the playlists that they listened to…4 stars

Tabitha Suzuma//ForbiddenForbidden by Tabitha Suzuma. Excellently written, & very thought-provoking, and though I liked the book a lot, I’m not entirely sure how I felt about the situation it presented… On the one hand, Maya & Lochan’s relationship was kind of squicky, but on the other hand, their relationship never really felt like one between siblings, even before they admitted their feelings, and I kind of wanted to root for them to find an escape together someday… My main problem with the way their relationship was portrayed was actually in the early parts of the book, when Maya was pushing Lochan for a relationship that seemed to scare him more than anything – but then again, somebody had to be the instigator (otherwise there’s no story), and reading about the instigation of an incestuous relationship is always going to seem kind of creepy… For those of you who’ve read the book already (or who don’t mind spoilers), feel free to check out my spoilery discussion post here. I’d love to hear your thoughts!3 stars

Paullina Simons//The Bronze HorsemanThe Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons. This book was such an emotional roller-coaster! So much tragedy, and then every time Tatiana & Alexander managed to get together, & things seemed to be going well for them, something would come up to drive them apart… 😦 I absolutely loved this book – the characters were so well-written (even the ones like Dimitri, who I really, really hated), & the drama was incredibly intense. There’s a slight cliffhanger at the end, so I’m looking forward to reading the sequel.5 starsRosamund Hodge//Cruel BeautyCruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge. A Beauty & the Beast re-telling, though is more complicated than a simple girl-meets-monster-and-redeems-him story, and it also has rather a dark edge to it, which I enjoyed – and a lot of Greek mythology! I liked the story a lot, even though it took me a while to warm up to the main character, Nyx, and I thought that the big reveal about Ignifex & Shade’s connection wasn’t quite as unexpected as it might have been intended to be… I think I may have officially restarted my fairytale retelling obsession now… 😉4 stars

Marissa Meyer//CinderCinder by Marissa Meyer. The first book in the Lunar Chronicles, and a cyberpunk-Cinderella retelling. Really interesting and inventive, and I loved all the characters so much! 😀 The ending was a little abrupt, but that was the only real problem I had with the book, and I hope that the sequels will take care of any lingering dissatisfaction, even though they follow different characters…5 stars Marissa Meyer//ScarletScarlet by Marissa Meyer. I’ll admit that I didn’t enjoy this quite as much as Cinder (not enough Cinder/Kai 😉 ), but it was definitely a solid follow-up. The plot seems to be escalating dramatically, and the new characters are fun, too – although I don’t feel that I managed to connect with either Scarlet or Wolf as much as I did with Cinder and Kai… I did appreciate, though, that rather than presenting this second book from an entirely new perspective (as I had expected), Marissa Meyer included chapters from Cinder and Kai’s perspectives, too; building on the first book rather than starting over.4 starsThe Little AndroidGlitches and The Queen’s Army by Marissa Meyer. These are three of the novellas set in the Lunar Chronicles universe, and I figured I’d read them before getting started on Cress. They’re all pretty quick reads (naturally), and well-written and developed (especially considering how short they are… All three stories can be read online for free, and if you’d like to do so, then I’ve linked each one to the cover inages below:

Marissa Meyer//The Little AndroidThe Little Android is set not too long before Cinder, and is a Little Mermaid-retelling about an android mechanic who falls in love with one of her human co-workers. Cinder herself appears briefly in the novella (in the role of the witch who turns Mech6.0 into a human), which was one of my favourite moments, and feel of the story is bittersweet.5 stars

Marissa Meyer//GlitchesGlitches is a direct prequel to Cinder, and is about Cinder’s childhood in New Beijing, the beginning of her friendship with Peony and Iko, and how she first discovered her talent as a mechanic. It was really lovely to see Cinder as a little girl, so unsure of everything in her new life, but this one was also pretty sad, and the ending was somewhat abrupt (though not unexpectedly so…).4 stars

Marissa Meyer//The Queen's ArmyLastly, The Queen’s Army follows the childhood of one of the new characters who’s introduced in Scarlet, and I wouldn’t recommend reading it before you’ve read both Cinder and Scarlet (even though it’s kind of a prequel), as it’s super-spoilery. Also for that reason, I can’t tell you all that much about it! I did enjoy the book, but I felt that the narrative was much choppier than the other two novellas, and I didn’t like it quite so much…3 stars

Marissa Meyer//CressCress by Marissa Meyer. I loved this book so much! Definitely my favourite in the series so far – the plot seems to be really taking off (literally!), and I’m seriously excited for Winter, the last book in the series… Character-wise, Cress was adorable and incredibly relatable, and I really loved the relationship development between her and Thorne; I’m definitely getting more attached to Wolf and Scarlet, even though there wasn’t so much of them in this book; Jacin was an unexpected delight to read (and that scene in the Rampion when he and Cinder talk about Winter was probably one of my favourite scenes in the whole book); and Winter! I wasn’t expecting Winter to even show up in this book, but I am so glad that she did, and I can’t wait to learn more about her!5+ starsRae Carson//Fire and ThornsFire and Thorns by Rae Carson. This is the first book in the Fire and Thorns trilogy, and in the US I believe it is called The Girl of Fire and Thorns, so if you’ve heard of that one, then, yes, this is the same book. It was a little slow-going at first, and I didn’t enjoy part 1 all that much: I liked how realistic the main character, Elisa, seemed, but I didn’t much care for any of the other characters, and not much of the book’s main conflict had been revealed – in fact, much of part 1 was focused on Elisa’s insecurities. However, in the second and third parts the book really picked up, and (in addition to watching Elisa grow as a character, which was wonderful), I grew attached to many of the supporting characters, and the world and its conflicts were really fleshed out. 🙂4 starsRae Carson//Crown of EmbersCrown of Embers by Rae Carson. Elisa’s (continued) growth is incredible, and there are so many other characters that I came to love over the course of reading this: Some older ones like Hector and Mara and Belén, and some new ones, like Tristán and Storm (who grew on me like a weed, and won’t let go). I did miss Cosmé, though, and I’m still not a huge fan of Ximena – but her part in this book and the direction her relationship with Elisa takes is certainly interesting. Writing-wise, this was a lot faster-paced than Fire and Thorns, which made it a lot easier to get into, and the mix of political intrigue and adventure made the plot engaging right from the start.5 stars