the NOPE tag

This was originally created by A Booktube Book. By the way, guys, I will link reviews for all of these books within the answers, in case you want to check out extended thoughts. Some are longer than others.

Also, I was saltier than the dead sea while writing this?? so uh please don’t hate me

1. NOPE. Ending: A book ending that made you go NOPE either in denial, rage, or simply because the ending was crappy.

Maybe the ending of More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera. (Vague spoilers, of course. And I still need to edit this review more.) I really loved this book, and I think if the ending had been hopeful or offered a hopeful future, I would’ve given it five stars and a spot on my favorite-books-of-all-time shelf. But the ending is really so needlessly tragic.

We already got that being gay sucks!! But how is it good to end in tragedy after all that? It sucks. The last 400 pages have shown us that. Isn’t it more productive to end in hope for the future? Maybe give the queer kids reading this book something to look for? Why is it deeper to end in sadness?

I honestly just got annoyed at how much this felt like Queers Die For the Straight Eye. Maybe I just didn’t get it, but I really don’t understand the point of the ending. What’s the message? What’s the moral in this outright tragedy? Clearly many loved the ending. But frankly, I hated the ending. After 350-some pages of angst over why you shouldn’t change yourself, why should the protagonist forget everything about who he is?

2. NOPE. Protagonist: A main character you dislike and drives you crazy.

This isn’t a protagonist, but I am in a Ranty mood today and I want to talk about a character that a lot of people love and I kinda hate?? Well. I like him as a villain. But as a character he rlly grosses me out.

EDIT: I forgot to type this????????

I fucking hate Kavinsky from the Raven Cycle. I love him as a villain, think he’s wonderfully complex and interesting. I’ll be honest, a redemption arc for him wouldn’t even bother me much, though I have to say it doesn’t interest me at all. But shipping him with Ronan is really… ugh?? some of the shit he does to Ronan really struck me as implied sexual assault. There’s a scene where he drugs Ronan and then touches his tattoo, which is used as symbolism for intimacy earlier in the book, and man, that’s not something I really want for a ship.

3. NOPE. Series: A series that turned out to be one huge pile of NOPE. after you’ve invested all of that time and energy on it, or a series you gave up on because it wasn’t worth it anymore.

Okay, two things. First of all I’m going to mention a series ending I just despise, and then I’m going to talk tropes. The series ending in question? Allegiant. I just hate this book so much and I’ll never stop being bitter about it. I don’t even care about the character deaths – I’m bitter about how shitty this book is. The weird love triangle? The nonsensical plot twists? The destruction of Tobias, formerly one of the Only Men I Trust? Whatever. It’s terrible and I hate it.

Related to trash series endings: I generally tend to hate those “villain suddenly dies in the last book because Narrative Punishment” endings. It doesn’t make me hate the series or anything, it just feels way too neat and tidy for my tastes. This is for a couple reasons. I’m a redemption arc person, first of all – honestly I think characters can pretty much come past anything and I love when they do.

Second of all, I think it bothers me how many of the characters who die (rather than being redeemed) were clearly manipulated or abused and became what they are as a result of what they’ve been through. With characters like that, I almost feel like killing them just leaves a bad taste?? There have been a couple times where I was genuinely shocked by characters surviving a series just because they’ve been through some shit.

For examples of books that DIDN’T do this and it made me really fucking happy!! Some of the characters that survived Six of Crows shocked me just because I thought they were earmarked for death from the first page. Yet another reason why that book means the world. Also, a couple characters that survived the Raven Cycle genuinely shocked me. (I can’t believe Adam Parrish managed to survive both Bury Your Gays and Bury Your Abusive Survivors what a fucking ICON)

4. NOPE. Popular pairing: A “ship” you don’t support.

I’m trying to vary my answers and I already talked about Shitty Men later in this post, so let me just talk about some others. Any ships with weird relationship dynamics where one character has all the power and the other one doesn’t. For a great example, I’m going with Elias and Laia from An Ember In The Ashes. I’m sorry, but this relationship feels so imbalanced and unhealthy?? There’s a scene in this book where the male romantic lead pretends that he’s been raping the female romantic lead. It’s so… it’s not actually abusive, Elias is kind of a fuckboy but he’s not an emotional abuser. this just makes me so uncomfortable personally?

I’m also not a fan of ships that cause female characters to lose their personalities. A good example is Captain Swan from Once Upon A Time 🙂 and also that one ship from The Fifth Wave. They just kinda gross me out because I feel like Cassie’s entire arc revolves around Evan. So not a fan.

5. NOPE. Plot twist: A plot twist you didn’t see coming or didn’t like.

Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson. Holy god, the ending of this book make me so fucking bitter. Because this book is a masterpiece. Every bit of it is horrifying, every bit of it is tense, every bit of it broke my heart into a million different pieces.

And then that ending happens. And it flops so much. And I’m so bitter about it. Why the fuck would you end your powerful, important, brilliant book with this cheap and idiotic twist?

6. NOPE. Protagonist action/decision: A character decision that made you shake your head NOPE.

Every single decision made by every single YA thriller character. Lmao. I’m excluding YA suspense there, and honestly, I think the main distinction between YA thrillers and YA suspense at this point is “how stupid are the characters?” Tune in next week for me of me roasting the YA thriller genre and telling you to read YA suspense instead!! And being bitter that some people like to pretend it’s the same genre when it’s rlly not!!

7. NOPE. Genre: A genre you will never read.

I guess New Adult? I just don’t care for some of the love interests in this genre. They bother me. We’ll talk more about this later.

I’m not putting in all New Adult, though – just the overly romancey kind really bothers me. For example, I’m trying to read all the books written by Elliot Wake (you might know him as Leah Raedar) and I think I’m going to read It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover just because of the subject matter. I’ve also enjoyed a few lgbt+ new adult books – for example, anything by J.C. Lillis gets my wholehearted support.

8. NOPE. Book format: Book formatting you hate and avoid buying until it comes out in a different edition

I guess weird sizes?? I don’t love weird size books. There’s short US paperback, normal US paperbacks, normal US hardcovers, and tall US hardcovers. WHY DO Y’ALL HAVE OTHER TYPES OF BOOK SIZES. Have I told you about how I have the super big US hardcover of Crooked Kingdom but the tiny short UK paperback of Six of Crows? I want to delete my blog because of that just let me die

9. NOPE. Trope: A trope that makes you go NOPE.

Haha. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

emotionally abusive bad boys!! Y’all have got to stop romanticizing this amount of shitty men!!

And before you come at me, there is a huge fucking difference between Morally Ambiguous Interesting Male Characters and Waddup I’m Jared I’m 19 And I Treat Women Like Shit. and there’s a big difference between “they’re both terrible and then they fall in love after some massive character development” and “they fall in love because the girl is turned on by really weird power dynamics.” Some of the men y’all romanticize in books are Literally Actually Abusive. Like. The actual men are abusive. THEY ARE ABUSIVE

and I’m not going to get on you for liking morally ambiguous characters trust me I am the fucking QUEEN of those super morally ambiguous male characters. Good example: I love Kaz Brekker. You know why he’s morally ambiguous? Because he tore someone’s eye out. You know what he didn’t do? Manipulate, physically intimidate, and emotionally abuse Inej for the entire book!! Excuse me!! Not the same thing!! Their relationship isn’t unhealthy. They don’t depend on each other, they both keep their lives and their moral codes, they just love each other. that’s GOOD. you know what isn’t good?? the amount of “I DEPEND on him I’d die for him but he’s always angry at me” romances out here

I GET that it’s fiction and y’all want to escape but can you please… say in your reviews that the Men are Shitty?? jesus i’m so bitter about the amount of books with Really Shitty Men that I’ve been recommended over the years I don’t understand the appeal!! of men who treat you like crap but it’s “hot” no!! heslyingtoyougirl.jpg leave his emotionally abusive ass and find yourself a non-abusive male character to date!! he can be as morally ambiguous as y’all want just don’t make him a Literal Abuser??

bye I’m really bitter about this??

10. NOPE. Recommendation: A book recommendation that is constantly hyped and pushed at you that you simply refuse to read.

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven I read a full spoiler review of this and not to tell y’all what to read or judge you – i’m sure there are great parts of that book – but this… romanticizes suicide lol

11. NOPE. Cliche/pet peeve: A cliche or writing pet peeve that always makes you roll your eyes.

I guess we’re going for things that just make me sign in annoyance, not things that make me legitimately bitter. Instalove or any dynamic where we know the characters will end up together in the end. This is just so weird and boring and annoying. I LIVE for relationships I don’t see coming until I’m already invested in both characters. Hence my absolute love for multiple-pov romances.

Since I’ve been bitter enough here, let’s list GOOD examples of ships that snuck up on me and I genuinely did not anticipate:

  • that one ship and you ALL know which one from The Raven Cycle
  • every ship from Six of Crows other than Nina / Matthias, but especially the Cute  Pure Ones
  • THAT ONE SHIP FROM NOW I RISE this isn’t even multiple POV but MAN THIS SHIP KILLED ME it takes so long to figure out they’re falling for each other and it kills me I love them and would die for them, personally, at this very moment

12. NOPE. Love interest: The love interest that’s not worthy of being one. A character you don’t think should have been a viable love interest.

Unpopular opinion, I think, but maybe Nik Malikova from Gemina? I don’t hate his character towards the end – I just don’t like that he basically harasses Hanna until they form a relationship. It’s a yikes beginning. But I really shipped them towards the end, so I feel like I really can’t be too bitter about this??

Also, another random Gemina opinion: Ella Malikova is a beautiful angel and she deserves a girlfriend. (I’ll happily take the role. Just saying.)

13. NOPE. Book: A book that shouldn’t have existed that made you say NOPE.

I’ve mentioned a ton, but to add another one – Kids of Appetite by David Arnold. This book literally juts exemplifies every issue I have with the YA contemporary genre and I’m bitter even thinking about it.

Are you ready for my controversial theory? No one actually liked this. You all read this, were confused, and then gave it a five on the general principle because you thought you didn’t get it. You know why you didn’t get it? Because there is nothing here. These characters are not based off actual personalities, they’re based off idiosyncrasies. They’re interesting because they’re different, in some way, from “regular” teenagers. These. are. not. characters. They. are. props. Damn it, characters don’t have to be “unique” for me to care about them. Honest to god, this angers me so much. This is lazy. It’s lazy writing meant to look deep.

And what bothers me even more is the handling of trauma and mental illness. Because the Quirks that are being used in substitute of personality aren’t even quirks – they’re mental illnesses or differences. That is so fucking tiring. Mental illness is not a character trait. It’s not a character trait, it’s not, it’s not, and I am so fucking tired of authors pretending it is out of pure laziness.

14. NOPE. Villain: A scary villain/antagonist you would hate to cross and would make you run in the opposite direction.

I already did My Boy Kavinsky so I’m actually going with a character from Game of Thrones who I just really hate?? Littlefinger. I really can’t get over the fact that this dude is a pedophile. I know she doesn’t look it, but Sansa is thirteen at the beginning of this show. This dude is also just super creepy and weird and sinister. I do like how the actor does his role – he’s appropriately terrifying – but man, I’m haunted at night by the fact that some people romanticize this dude. And ship him with Sansa. Okay, that’s the really weird part. The fact that people love him as a villain doesn’t bother me at all, although I have to admit I don’t even really appreciate him as a villain because he grosses me out so much.

15. NOPE. Death: A character death that still haunts you.

That one terrible fucking death from the Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee. Not to rant, but why can’t y’all stop killing every single lesbian/bi girl in literature. Not to be weird but We Get It, You Hate Gay People And Don’t Want To Give Them Happy Endings.

This book is also kind of super racist?? I mean literally 3/5 of the characters are these rlly uncomfortable stereotypes I’m generally not a fan

16. NOPE. Author: An author you had a bad experience reading for and have decided to quit.

Ellen Hopkins. Can I just put my reviews here. I can feel her disdain for lgbt+ people driving through her pages and it makes me super uncomfortable.

Comment below if you have any similar opinions to me!!

Unpopular Opinions Book Tag

I was tagged for this by lifeofaliterarynerd. And it looks so interesting that I have to do this.


A POPULAR BOOK THAT YOU DIDN’T LIKE

I talk about the Holy Overrated Fantasy Trinity down below in popular authors, so for now let’s go with a less-popular choice. A Mango Shaped Space by Wendy Maas is a terrible book!! That sends out a terrible message for little kids!! And really changed me as a person in a bad way!!


A BOOK THAT EVERYONE HATES BUT YOU LOVE

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I’ll literally fight everyone about Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge. (How dare y’all hate on this gem!!) This book is a little confusing, but… I guess in a good way??

 

 

 

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I also really loved Daughter of Deep Silence by Carrie Ryan. Yes, the romance is idiotic and nonsensical. This is also one of the most atmospheric books I’ve ever read. Also, please just look at the cover. It’s… perfect for this book. And stunning. This gave me vibes of Revenge the tv series.

 

 


AN OTP THAT YOU DON’T LIKE

I’m going with two here, because the thing that always comes to mind is from a tv show and it’s a SUPREMELY unpopular opinion.

First of all, to talk books!! I absolutely fucking hate Evan and Cassie from the Fifth Wave by Rick Yancey. Just hate them. They ruined the final book for me to the point where I DNFed it. I hate them.

And then to talk tv shows.

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Emma, the main character of Once Upon A Time was once a fabulous badass. She is now a prop for her love interest, and I’m afraid this has totally colored my feelings of this relationship. I hate the fact that she’s turned into a prop for her own character, and I hate that all her storylines are turned around to focus on him. I actually finally dropped this show after the show did this yet again with the season five finale. A storlyline meant to be about Emma’s character exploration was suddenly plot-twisted to be all about how much they’d sacrifice for each other. That’s not cute when she never gets any storylines of her own. He wasn’t even around in season one. It’s not his show.


A BOOK GENRE THAT YOU DON’T REACH FOR

Nowadays, contemporary!! I really have begun to get upset with this genre. Today’s contemporaries often come off to me as either fluffy romances without much substance or really depressing books about how terrible mental illness / abuse / whatever issue is. You know exactly what books I mean with BOTH those categories. There’s the Kasie West / Stephanie Perkins type, which can be entertaining for a while but never stick in my mind. And there’s the John Green / Jennifer Niven-esque type, which is a genre I sometimes enjoy but get annoyed with easily due to the abundance of mental-illness-to-force-a-romance stuff. Sorry. I know y’all enjoy that. I have depression and I can’t. There’s a time and place for both of those, but I’m getting really tired of it all.

My ideal contemporary is coming-of-age that doesn’t focus on either romance or any particular issue, while still touching on depression and social issues.


A BELOVED CHARACTER THAT YOU DO NOT LIKE

Every single jerk dude character who the protagonist falls in love with because he’s Hawt and has Abs. So Stalker Alien from the Fifth Wave, Teen Angst Boi from The Mortal Instruments, Literal Physical Abuser Holy Fuck from Article Five, Other Physical Abuser Except This Time He’s Harry Styles from After, and Piece of Kale from Throne of Glass. Sorry.


POPULAR AUTHOR THAT YOU CAN’T SEEM TO GET INTO

Oh my god, so many. I usually mention the Holy Overrated Fantasy Trinity here.

Number one is Sarah J Maas, author of Throne of Glass, where I read book one and hated. This book is written terribly. Maybe the next books get better and I don’t want to disrespect that!! But this book is actually legitimately bad.

Number two is Sabaa Tahir, author of An Ember in the Ashes, which is fairly well-written and well-plotted, but has some of the most annoying characters I’ve seen in a book. They’re flimsy and badly written, but I could’ve handled this if I hadn’t gotten so annoyed. This is one where I genuinely get the hype and I’d maybe check out more of Tahir’s stuff in the future, especially given her fantastic presence online. I just don’t agree with the hype for this particular series.

Number three is The Mortal Instruments, and I actually forced myself through all three of the first trilogy. I have to admit, book three was genuinely pretty good! If the entire series had been like book three I would’ve totally understood the hype. Yes, the characters are flat and boring and stereotypical, but if I’d been entertained it would’ve been fine. I was just so bored.

And a bonus number four that I actually forgot because it’s so damn bland!! Morgan Rhodes and her Falling Kingdoms series. A terrible book.


A POPULAR BOOK TROPE THAT YOU’RE TIRED OF SEEING

Mental illness as a plot device. And cheating, of course.


A SERIES THAT YOU HAVE NO INTEREST IN READING

Anything by authors that I’ve mentioned. But also probably The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson, because I just don’t care about that love triangle. Even thinking about it makes me not care.


 

THE SAYING GOES “THE BOOK IS ALWAYS BETTER THAN THE MOVIE”, BUT WHAT MOVIE OR TV SHOW ADAPTATION DO YOU PREFER MORE THAN THE BOOK?

The 100. Honestly, this is one of the worst books I’ve ever read. It’s terrible. And the show is one of my favorite shows ever.

To copy some of my rant:

• Clarke is not a badass slytherin with complex morality. She’s a shallow, undeveloped prop for a love triangle.
• Bellamy and Clarke have crappy romantic development. I don’t even ship them hard in the show but their relationship is fucking beautiful as a friendship too. Here, their relationship is terrible and based entirely on his abs. Hate it!!
• Wells is basically a creepy stalker, rather than a guy who wants Clarke to be happy even if he can’t be a part of that
• Octavia is whiny and annoying rather than being a badass with a great character arc
• I can’t believe I forgot this but where the fuck was my son Lincoln
• No Raven Reyes whatsoever (was her character based on Glass?? Well, Glass sucks. In contrast Raven is my fucking wife)
• No subversion of a typical love triangle, meaning no takedowns of girl hate, meaning no book version of the Spacewalker episode, meaning no Raven and Clarke’s gorgeous beautiful perfect relationship
• Every single character is white and straight?? oh my god there are literally no characters who aren’t straight and white
• And it pulls the brutal-race-of-brown-people-trope out. I’m not saying the show was immune from this trope but the show had so many major nonwhite characters that I didn’t feel disgusting, and the “other race” was sympathetic in the show.
• Did I mention that there’s literally no moral conflict? Or plot?
• Did I mention Raven was literally not here
• This had nothing to do with the tv show
• The tv show is much better
• Even though I hate season three with the burning passion of a thousand suns


A SERIES THAT YOU HAVE NO INTEREST IN READING

Anyway, hope you all enjoyed this rant about things!!

T5W: Series That Got Better

The wisdom goes that series go downhill, but are there ever exceptions? For this week’s top five Wednesday, we’re going through some series that only go uphill. Check here for topics.

The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer – Book one isn’t bad – I think every book of this series is solidly good – but it doesn’t have as many cool characters. Book three is my favorite, though book two is a very close second. Book four is too long.

Every Heart A Doorway by Seanan McGuire. Book one of this felt completely underdeveloped to me, despite my love for the concept and themes. Book two is better though, and I’m loving what I’ve read so far of book three!!

The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater: Compared to book one, everything else is far better. Book two and book three are both absolutely fabulous. Book four, though, is tough to rank. It’s a great book, but it’s not the best conclusion. That being said, this definitely goes uphills.

The Foxhole Court by Nora Sakavick – This definitely goes uphill. I mean, the first book is entertaining crap. The second one is slightly less crappy entertainment. Book three is much less crappy.

And I Darken by Kiersten White: Book one is fine, but this series has a blatantly better second book. I liked book one fine, but book two is literally one of my top five favorite books of all time. I don’t know if book two particularly raises the stakes, but it definitely gives the characters far more depth.

What are your top fives??

The Unique Blogger Tag

I was nominated by the amazing Chelsea at Spotlight on Stories. I know I’ve missed out on a few tags recently, but I LOVED the questions here!! So here we go with the questions.

Question One: Talk about and share a few of your favourite book covers.

Ooooh, this is such a nice question!! This turned into a top nine. And I’m probably sleeping on some faves – sorry!!

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  • With Malice by Eileen Cook – This book was worth reading just to own this stunning cover. I love the eerie coloring and ombre cover lighting more than my own life.
  • Daughter of Deep Silence by Carrie Ryan – THIS COVER. Oh my god, isn’t it stunning?? this is the one cover model copy I support. the ONLY ONE. damn, those waves behind her… and the dress… and the blood red… and the font… it’s just flawless. I’m so glad I own this.
  • The Love That Split The World by Emily Henry – I love the rainbow!! and the spine is even nicer, as a bonus.

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  • You’re Welcome Universe by Whitney Gardner – I picked up this arc just for the cover. I love the rainbow art style, the cover model’s outfit and bright yellow boots… the hyper-realism is just perfect.
  • A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston – this cover is so nice to touch. I know that sounds weird, but that emboss kills me. Anyway, I love the coloring so much.
  • Jane Unlimited by Kristin Cashore – ughhhhhhhhh the coloring is so amazing. The spine of this book is even better with some weird rearranging of the

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  • Eat the Sky Drink the Ocean by Various – Oh wow!! the coloring is so beautiful and I love the artsy feel to it. Plus that weird magical realism.
  • The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater – look at that… blue… look at the symbolism… Look At It
  • The Tiger’s Watch by Julia Ember – The one book here I haven’t read yet!! But this cover just deserves a shoutout. It’s so artsy and walks this thin line between being cheesy and being stunning. I love the art look at that TIGER isn’t it BEAUTIFUL

Question Two: How do you organize your bookshelves?

I organize by genre and book height mostly, then usually keep authors and series together within those genres. Within my contemporary and suspense genres, where almost everything is a standalone, I usually organize by color.

Question Three: Besides books, what do you collect, if anything?

I collect candles. I actually do not own a single bookish candle, I just collect scented candles. My christmas wishlist is almost entirely books, but I have so many relatives who don’t want to buy me books, so just buy me candles if you’re not willing to buy me a book!!

I also used to collect snowglobes!! I don’t have very many, to be quite honest – it’s mostly souvenirs from the few major trips I’ve been on.

nominations

the rules for you

  • Share the link of the blogger who has shown love to you by nominating you.
  • Answer the questions.
  • In the spirit of sharing love and solidarity with our blogging family, nominate at least three people for the award!!
  • Ask them three new questions.

my questions!!

  1. Favorite classic book(s) and classic book(s) that you hate?
  2. What books do you prefer the film adaptations?
  3. How do you manage your physical tbr / how many physical tbr books do you own?

Top Five Wednesday Throwback: Polarizing Books

Yet another throwback because I wasn’t inspired by this week’s topic!

1. Dare Me by Megan Abbott

This book is weird. It is so weird that I totally understand why people dislike it. But for me, it was a high-tension and compelling read. If you’re a “weird, confusing suspense book” fan, give it a try.

2. A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston

This book is slow-paced and not very typical YA, but I thought it was a brilliant, subtly feminist story. This is one that might be polarizing, but the writing style and the fabulous storytelling makes the whole thing worth it. Plus, take a look at the cover. Just click the link. It’s beautiful. Don’t you want that on your shelf, especially knowing it’s one of yours truly’s favorite books?

3. The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow

I feel about this almost the same way I feel about A Thousand Nights. This book is a bit slow-paced, but I thought it was a brilliantly subtle story. It had such a huge effect on me; I was crying my eyes out by the end.

That blurb looks super tropey, right? This book is not its blurb. This is a level of blurb inaccuracy to rival book one of the Raven Cycle. Give it a try. Please.

4. Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge

This book gets a lot of flack for having an annoying main character and a love triangle. The main character is my favorite part about this book. Rachelle is supposed to be slightly angering and annoying. But she develops so, so well. The love triangle is used almost entirely for character development; it’s clear from the beginning who the main character will end up with, and we see her develop into believing she deserves a healthier relationship. I love her and I love this book.

5. Caraval by Stephanie Garber

This book may not be deserving of the hype. Nothing is deserving of hype this ridiculous, except maybe Harry Potter. But it does offer a fast-paced mystery that left me breathless. Don’t expect anything like what the hype promises, but do expect a fast-paced mystery and a much-improved second half.

Bonus: Dear Killer by Katherine Ewell

This one gets criticized for being completely ridiculous in concept, and it is. Let’s be clear, this book is not a high-quality book. But it’s also completely psychological and absolutely fucking terrifying. I get the dislike, but it’s a book I personally like.

T5W: Books Without Romance

You’re Welcome, Universe by Whitney Gardner – 3.5 stars

This book focuses around a Deaf street artist who gets in a graffiti  war with a unknown person. The major focus, though, is the friendship between Julia and another major girl character. Julia is an exciting, dynamic character who is far from perfect; she can be downright mean at times, although she’s still good to her friends and family. Her narration is fabulous. And her character arc is tied to her new friendship and letting people in, rather than any romance, which was so amazing. While there is a touch a romance towards the beginning, that storyline is quickly broken off.

Run by Kody Keplinger – 3.5 stars

The two main characters here, Bo and Agnes, were three-dimensional, and I’ve never read such a complex, well-developed friendship in a novel before. While there is very little plotting, I did rather enjoy the reading experience just due to their arcs. Keplinger is a very talented author.

Dare Me by Megan Abbott – 4 stars

I didn’t enjoy this book in the typical sense, but it’s kind of a formative book in my life. Dare Me, along with Dangerous Girls, got me interested in the suspense genre. It has been over a year now since I read this book and it still haunts me. This is a suspense novel about obsession and friendship. I love mood books; I love books that make me feel, even when I don’t know what’s happening. This book is confusing and screwed-up and flat-out weird, but it’s utterly amazing. The writing is a pretty without having purple prose, which is great. I also really love the characters; they’re all developed and complex and very, very screwed-up.

Vicious by V.E. Schwab – 5 stars

Vicious is the story of a villain and a hero. Or, that’s what it disguises itself as. It’s really the story of five different morally grey characters, all out for themselves, battling it out. This book explores the hero / villain dichotomy and promptly shatters it to pieces. I love books that subvert and explore tropes, and this is absolutely a good example. Vicious sets itself apart from Schwab’s other adult releases with a far faster pace. My main complaint about Darker Shade of Magic was the lack of character-driven plot; events happened to the characters rather than because of them. That’s not true here. Every single plot twist is due to an action by a main character.

A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston – 5 stars

The unnamed heroine of this novel is one of my all-time favorite main characters: she’s strong, she’s smart, and her primary motivation is family. But this trait never feels forced. So many books that use “she loves her family !!” as a major trait absolutely fail at making this come across. But no, the main character of this book feels so real. The story in general is absolutely magical, with some really powerful, character-built moments. The entire book feels like the best fairy tale ever written, yet with no romance whatsoever until a brief moment at the end of the book.

Exit, Pursued by A Bear by E.K. Johnston – 5 stars

E.K. Johnston is truly one of my favorite authors. Her books have so much heart without feeling artificial. This one focuses on a girl who is the victim of rape, yet doesn’t focus so much on the pain and tragedy – instead, it’s about healing. Some say it shies away from the true pain, but I disagree; I think this book goes into the dark places, but focuses more on how the protagonist heals. It’s the kind of rare story I always want about trauma.

What are your favorite books without romance?

Mid-Year Book Freakout Tag

I wasn’t actually tagged to do this, but I’ve seen it on everyone’s blogs and definitely wanted to try it out! Basically, this tag just gives me an opportunity to talk through some books I liked and didn’t like. EDIT: Romie from RomieWeDeserveLove tagged me!! She’s one of my fave book friends, so go check her out.

1. Best Book(s) You’ve Read So Far in 2017:

  • My best answer is probably Vicious by V.E. Schwab, because I love that dumb found-family with villains trope. This is the adult version of Six of Crows. Not quite as fabulous, but what is?
  • Wayfarers by Becky Chambers, because I love to be hopeful about our far-distant future and so does Becky Chambers.
  • The ADSOM series by VE Schwab, because MULTIPLE LONDONS.
  • Dangerous Boys by Abigail Haas and Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart, because I like my heroines morally black as they come.
  • Slasher Girls and Monster Boys by Various Artists, because plot twists and moral blackness is all I care about.
  • The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton, because magical realism is a character-driven glory.
  • No Good Deed by Goldy Moldavsky, because I have a sense of humor and Goldy Moldavsky has the same exact one.
  • A&B + How To Repair a Mechanical Heart by J.C. Lillis, because sometimes I just need happy romcoms.
  • All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill, because of some of the most clever plot twists I’ve ever read. Holy shit, I’m still reeling.
  • The King’s Men by Nora Sakavic, because love doesn’t have to be linear.
  • Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray, because sentient robots are people too. Apparently.
  • The DOSAB trilogy by Laini Taylor, because when devils kneel and smile, they sometimes fall in love too.
  • And Jane Unlimited by Kristin Cashore, because plot twists and f/f romance was all I needed this year.

2. Best Sequel You’ve Read So Far in 2017:

This is such a weird question, because I actually only loved one sequel this year where I didn’t binge the entire series at once. So I guess it has to be The Edge of the Abyss by Emily Skrutskie, which killed my gay heart and left it in cold pieces on the floor. Or maybe that one Unwind story collection that made me sob. Why, Neal Shusterman?

3. New Release You Haven’t Read Yet, But Want To:

So, so many. I am failing at the new releases right now. The top ones are Release by Patrick Ness, When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon, Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire, and Want by Cindy Pon. I have copies of every single one. Why haven’t I read them? God knows.

4. Most Anticipated Release of the Second Half of the Year:

There are so many?? And I’ve honestly read a ton of them. Maybe All The Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater. Yes.

5. Biggest Disappointment:

Hm. I’ll avoid ranting here, but maybe The You I’ve Never Known by Ellen Hopkins. Christ. If we’re going to avoid the rant, I’ll go with The Sandcastle Empire by Kayla Olson. This was just incredibly mediocre, confusing, full of flat romance, lacking in character development, and boring, complete with a bullshit ending. I honestly don’t know why I gave this two stars. I kind of hated everything past page 100. And it’s so sad, because the first hundred pages made me so excited for a fabulous book! But no.

6. Biggest Surprise:

So many!! I saw good things about J.C. Lillis’ contemporaries, A&B and How To Repair a Mechanical Heart, but I didn’t expect to love them quite as much as I did. All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill was surprisingly awesome, when the first hundred pages made me expect a typical scifi romance. Despite the hype, I think I also had some pretty low expectations for The Foxhole Court by Nora Sackavic. And I have to admit, I expected absolutely nothing out of Genuine Fraud by E Lockhart, but ended up loving it.

Maybe my biggest surprise of all was Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray. I only read this because of one good review by a trusted friend, and I have to admit I loved every second. Slow-burn romance and environmentalism. What’s not to love?

7. Favourite New Author (Debut or New to You):

Laini Taylor and Victoria Schwab. I’ve now read both DOSAB and Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor, and I’m planning to read her one remaining YA release, Lips Touch Three Times, as soon as possible. I’ve now read all of Victoria Schwab’s adult releases, and I can’t wait to get to her YA!!

8. Newest Fiction Crush:

I’m not much of a book crush person. If we were going to name one, I suppose there’s Ivy from Jane Unlimited, who’s a ton of fun. But really, I don’t have a crush on her. My newest real fictional crush was probably Nazira from Now I Rise by Kiersten White, which was back in November. It counts because I reread two chapters of this book and started crying. Fight me.

9. Newest Favourite Character:

Haha. Probably all the main characters of Vicious by V.E. Schwab, and those of The DOSAB trilogy by Laini Taylor. I love Liraz, Ziri, Karou, and Akiva so so much. And there’s just something about the morally black mcs of Vicious.

10. Books That Made Me Cry 

All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill really made me sob. Full-out sobbing on my bed in the middle of night. I think The King’s Men by Nora Sakavic made me cry a bit too. And definitely Unbound.

11. Books That Made You Happy:

A&B and How To Repair a Mechanical Heart by J.C. Lillis. These are just so funny and happy and make me hopeful about the world?? Perfect.

12. Favourite Book to Film Adaptation You Saw This Year:

The Handmaid’s Tale Hulu series. I actually think I like this more than the book so far. The character work in the book lacked on a large level, but the show goes so much deeper into each of these characters. I get the book wasn’t trying for character work, but I feel the show is more my speed.

13. Favourite Review You’ve Written:

Oh, definitely my review for Here We Are Now by Jasmine Warga. This was a three-star book, which would usually mean a fairly short review compared to my reviews of one-star or five-star books. But I went on a nitpicking session and came up with a lot of interesting points about the book. I feel really proud that I’ve learned so much over the year that I can write reviews like this.

14. Most Beautiful Book That You’ve Bought so Far This Year (or Received):

These two gorgeous covers come to mind. One of which I don’t even own yet.

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15. What Books Do You Need To Read By The End of the Year:

This is a pointless question, because I have so so many! Here is my 2017 Must Reads list and my 2017 Summer TBR. Also check out my SeriesSummer TBR!!

Alright, guys, that’s it for this tag. Feel free to do it if it looks good – consider it a tag to me. You can even link me – I’d love to read yours!!