Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s topic was made for me! I’m attempting to read a book from every country in the world before I’m 30, this is the Read the World Project, so I’ve read some great books that take place outside of the UK. Here are ten of my favourites I’ve read for that challenge and just generally.
Frangipani by Célestine Hitiura Vaite
I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned this book a lot now but it’s just so nice. Set in Tahiti, it’s about the relationship between a mother and daughter and their lives spanning about thirty years. It’s like an insight to a normal family’s life, it’s got the highs and lows but it’s also funny and never overly dramatic.
The Great Zoo of China by Matthew Riley
This book was like an action film playing in my head. Set in China, it’s revealed that scientists have actually created dragons, but of course, things don’t go to plan, nature can’t be controlled and the special guest have to survive when the dragons go on the rampage. It’s like Jurassic Park but with dragons and is a lot of fun.
Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
Set in South Korea and Japan, Pachinko follows one family through the generations and you get to see how their lives change, for the good and the bad, and time moves on and they are affected by some major historical events. (more…)
Top Ten Tuesday is a feature run by BrokeAndBookish each week. As 2016 is coming to a close, this week’s theme is all about our favourite books of the year. I didn’t really get much reading done in the last few months of the year, I started a new job and couldn’t really get into any of the books I was picking up but I did read some good books in 2016. So below, in no particular order, are my ten favourite books I read this year – the links in the book titles go to their reviews where you can find out more about why I liked them so much.
The Murdstone Trilogy by Mal Peet
This book was unlike anything I’d read before. It’s the perfect commentary on the fantasy genre and it’s a very funny read as well.
Asking for It by Louise O’Neill
This was such a tough read but it was still a really good and important book. It is often a frustrating book with a frustrating and unlikable protagonist but that makes it all the more interesting and memorable. (more…)
Top 5 Wednesday is a great feature created by GingerReadsLainey and hosted by ThoughtsonTomes. To find out more about Top 5 Wednesday and the upcoming topics, check out its Goodreads page. This week it’s all about unlikable characters, these aren’t the villains you’re supposed to hate, these are the protagonists or side-characters that for whatever reason you just can’t stand.
Vivi – When We Collided by Emery Lord
I was not a fan of Vivi. She is almost obnoxiously happy and though you do find out why she’s like that I never felt any real sympathy for her. She’s incredibly jealous and mean if her boyfriend does so much as talk to another girl, she is reckless and when people try and ask her why she’s doing stupid or crazy things, she just says they’re trying to control her. Vivi was probably the most unlikable character I’ve encountered in a while.
Wade/Parzival – Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
There was something about Wade that put my back up. He’s often entitled or thinks he’s so great since he’s the first to make a break through looking for James Halliday’s Easter egg, he’s also kind of controlling which is never a good quality. I think the main reason I don’t like him is because of the way he thinks of and talks about Art3mis. It’s creepy and if I ever found out a guy was that obsessed with me I’d run away screaming.
Shyama – The House of Hidden Mothers by Meera Syal
The main reason Shyama is unlikable is because she’s pretty self-centred. All she wants is a baby and in doing so she ignores her teenage daughter. She just thinks her daughter is being moody for the sake of it but doesn’t realise something more serious might be going on because she’s not paying anyone any attention but herself. If a characters self-centred, I’m probably not going to like them.
Étienne – Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
The main reason why I found Étienne so unlikable throughout most of the novel was because he didn’t communicate! He ends up stringing along not only his girlfriend but a friend he’s supposed to really like and care about. Plus, he’s one of those romantic leads that’s almost sickeningly perfect so that just makes him annoying.
Emma O’Donovan – Asking For It by Louise O’Neill
This is an interesting one because Emma is a really unlikable person but there’s no way she deserves what happens to her. Emma is beautiful and she knows it so she uses it to her advantage, she’s mean and bitchy to her friends, she steals from them and she always thinks she’s better than them. She is the sort of person you wouldn’t want to be friends with in school.
What protagonists or secondary characters did you end up finding really unlikable when you probably weren’t supposed to?
Top Ten Tuesday is a feature run by BrokeAndBookish each week – I’m thinking I might not take part every week but just see if a week takes my fancy. This week it’s all about books you picked up on a whim, I’m going to take this as books I bought on a whim – so books that I’d never heard of, hadn’t read reviews for and books that I may have seen in passing on the internet but knew very little about. On to the books!
Sudden Death by Alvaro Enrigue
I bought this book in Any Amount of Books, a lovely second-hand book shop off Leicester Square, the last time I was in in London. I had never heard of it before and when I read the blurb I was still none the wiser what it was actually about. It’s something to do with a tennis match and it mentions a lot of different historical figures and time-periods. I have no idea what it’s about or whether I’ll like it but that’s what made me pick it up.
The Secret Fire by CJ Daugherty and Carina Rozenfeld
I bought this one during the London Bookswap Crawl and I had never heard of it before. The striking cover was what drew me to it and then it was only a couple of quid so I ended up buying it. I haven’t read it yet but I have a feeling I’m going to get to it sooner rather than later.
Asking For It by Louise O’Neill
So I had heard about this book through murmurings on the internet but I hadn’t read any full reviews. Then one day I was browsing Amazon, clicking from book to book and I saw Asking For It again and it wasn’t that expensive so I bought it. My review is here. (more…)
Emma O’Donovan is eighteen years old, she’s beautiful and happy. One summer night there’s a party, everyone’s there, Emma is the centre of attention. The next day Emma wakes up on her front porch. She doesn’t know how she got there. She doesn’t know why she’s in pain. But everyone else knows. There’s photos taken at the party, that show in excruciating detail what Emma was up to and they are all online. But sometimes people don’t want to know the truth, especially when it concerns the town’s heroes.
Asking For It is a contemporary YA novel but it may not be suitable for younger readers as it does contain strong language and explicit scenes. It’s because it doesn’t tiptoe around rape and sexual assault that makes it a powerful and great book. Asking For It covers a lot of important topics in a realistic way; rape culture and victim blaming as well as looking how something that happens to one person can affect the people around them.
One of the interesting things about Asking For It was that Emma really wasn’t a likeable character. She often thought she was better than her friends and just used them for things and even stole from them to make herself feel good. Though I’m saying she wasn’t always a good person, doesn’t mean that I wanted anything bad to happen to her, no one deserves to be attacked. I think it was a good thing that she wasn’t particularly likeable as so often in books about subjects like rape, the person it happens to is 100% good and flawless but people in real life aren’t like that. It gives the reader complicated feelings about Emma as a person and what she goes through.
Emma lives in a small town in Ireland where everyone knows everyone. It’s a tight-knit community so what happens to Emma has ripple effects across the town, the school and the church have to have their say as well as any radio or TV chat show.
Asking For It is often a frustrating book because it’s so realistic. Emma’s parents don’t know what to do and trying to keep up appearances for the neighbours, Emma doesn’t know how to think or feel and she often blames herself. Asking For It is one of those books you read and wonder how you’d handle in Emma situation or if it happened to someone you cared about, it’s the sort of book that can prompt discussions on consent and the harmful attitude that “boys will be boys”.
While the content of Asking For It might not be suitable for everyone, it is an incredibly important book that’s compelling and thought-provoking and it’s something everyone should read, both boys and girls and teenagers and adults alike. 5/5.