*distributes programs at the door*
*rams free suckers into the mouths of my enemies*
Guys, it’s time to talk about BOOKS.
Dead easy, that is. 🙂
It’s also time to FREAK OUT.
Not a problem.
I snagged this tag from Abigail at Novels, Dragons, and Wardrobe Doors. It looked like so much fun, I just had to try it!
BEWARE. From this point on there will be some teensy spoilers scattered throughout this post as I talk about various books and characters. So if you haven’t read these books before and spoil yourself –
Okay, I laughed way too hard at that gif. I’m still laughing every time I look at it. It’s, ahem, very me. 🙂
ANYWAY – onto the post!
1) The best book you’ve read so far this year.
OH COME ON. I’M PICKY WITH THE BOOKS I LOVE, BUT NOT SO PICKY THAT THAT QUESTION ISN’T A TOUGH ONE. *rubs chin*
My five star reads for the year (so far) have been My Man Jeeves, Dragon Rider, Swallowdale, The Rise and Fall of Mount Majestic, The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe, Roverandom, The Magician’s Nephew, and The Princess and the Goblin.
I think that’s it? Eight books out of one hundred and four total books read. That’s not bad.
But of those eight, I’m going to have to go with The Rise and Fall of Mount Majestic. That book was very special to me. 😍
2) The best sequel you’ve read so far this year.
I tell you, Neighbor, I am brutal on sequels – I usually hate them.
There are several reasons for why this happens but here are some of the following.
#1. The glowing feelings I have for the first book usually can’t be carried into the second one. The second book just doesn’t have the same surprises or happiness for me.
#2. I tend to extrapolate in my head as I read and mentally leap ahead to improvise on how a scenario is going to pan out. Thus, when a scenario plays out in a sequel and it isn’t the situation I imagined, I am disappointed.
#3. Sequels have a tendency to whip out more tropes or to invent fresh problems for our characters THAT NEVER EXISTED BEFORE AND MAKE NO SENSE AND I’VE READ IT ALL BEFORE.
Ahem, I could go on, but I shall restrain myself. I just wanted to make it clear that when I toss accolades towards a sequel YOU’D BETTER SIT UP AND TAKE NOTICE.
Anyway, that brings us to the best sequel I read (so far) in 2019. That would be Swallowdale by Arthur Ransome.
I adored Swallows and Amazons so much that it took me years (not kidding) to pick up another book in the series. The first book was so ABSOLUTELY PERFECT. IT WAS THE QUINTESSENTIAL SUMMER ADVENTURE OF CLASSIC CHILDHOOD and how could a sequel possibly live up to that?
It did, though. It was all I could ask for.
3) A new release that you haven’t read yet but want to.
*taps chin* I don’t pay TOO much attention to new releases, because I usually prefer old books and old authors –
However, one of the new releases I have been looking forward to is the sequel to Escape to Vindor. I didn’t even KNOW there was going to be a sequel until about a week before the release.
I was shocked and excited. 🙂 I enjoyed Escape to Vindor and I’m really looking forward to trying Mists of Paracosmia! (say THAT three times fast)
4) The most disappointing book you’ve read this year.
Okay, two came to mind. # 1. Breaking Stalin’s Nose.
I was FLOORED by Arcady’s Goal, so I had VERY HIGH expectations for Eugene Yelchin’s other books. Sadly, I was grievously disappointed. It was depressing, weird, and POINTLESS. IT WAS JUST STUPID AND HOW COULD YOU DO THIS TO ME AFTER THE GLORIOUSNESS OF ARCADY’S GOAL? HOW?
#2. The Story Peddler by Lindsey Franklin. While the set-up was intriguing and it was pretty well-written, I felt that the story never went anywhere, the world building was kind of dull, and there were a LOT of tropes that were no-less painful then they are in any other book.
5) The most surprising book of the year so far.
The Charlatan’s Boy by Jonathan Rogers came instantly to mind.
Long, long ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I picked up a series called the The Wilderking Trilogy by Jonathan Rodgers and, frankly, it wasn’t that good. Now don’t misunderstand me, for a voracious 13 or 14 year old looking for a clean fantasy read, these fit the bill, all I meant was that there was nothing outstanding about them.
Flash forward to last year or so. At some point while I was tossing more books on my TBR pile on Goodreads, I spotted The Charlatan’s Boy. I realized it was by the same author, so I did not have high expectations for it. I expected it to be the same rather childish, homogenized fantasy that gluts the genre.
But this book had me laughing out from chapter one with a writing style similar to one of my favorite authors, Sid Fleischman. The characters, the scenario and the countrified vernacular were hilarious and heartwarming and had me glued to every page.
I will say the ending disappointed me some (I felt that the story stopped just when it was beginning and I didn’t like the resolution). Some of those feelings were assuaged when I discovered there was supposed to be a sequel. HOWEVER, the sequel was supposed to be released 2010 and NOTHING HAS APPEARED. ZERO, ZIP, ZILCH. SO WHAT’S THE BIG IDEA?
6) A new author you’ve discovered this year.
P.G. Wodehouse! Okay, I know he’s not NEW (he’s quite dead) but he’s new to me and it was a Discovery with a capital D.
You know that sometimes-dreadful question new authors are posed when we are asked to think of a know author that is comparable to our own work? WELL, NOW I CAN FINALLY TELL THEM.
Of all the books I’ve read (heap big pile, guys), P.G. Wodehouse is one that truly makes me think of my own style of writing (at least, in regards to my Tales of Ambia series). He’s witty, bubbly, irreverent, and has an odd mixture of taking everything serious and nothing seriously all at the same time. The zany slapstick has a veneer of sophisticated wit that gives it a certain panache and the stories are often a comedy of errors that expounds (with great enjoyment) on the simple absurdity of the ordinary human.
Clearly, I have found a kindred spirit.
7) Your newest fictional crush.
. . . . .
. . . . .
. . . . .
Or book crushes.
But how about this for a facsimile? The most recent character who is MY SWEETIE AND I WANT TO HUG THE DAYLIGHTS OUT OF HIM. Will that do? It will have to.
That character would be Blaise from Goldheart by Kenley Davidson.
AHHHHHHHH – HE IS SO PRECIOUS!!!!!!!!
Blaise suffers from albinism and is forced to live in total obscurity from a father who has rejected him. Weak and fragile but with the spirit of a fighter, Blaise’s artist’s soul burns brightly even though the world is stacked against him.
It would have been SO easy to make this type of character a wishy-washy, unrelatable victim, but Blaise is PURE GOLD. I JUST . . . . JUST. GAHHHH. I CAN’T EVEN DESCRIBE HOW GOOD HE IS. LOVED HIM SO MUCH!!
I will say, though, that I was stinking mad that he didn’t get more screen time and *SPOILER* get the girl. *end of spoiler* However, I saw in a recent interview with the authoress that Blaise will one day get his own story and will get the attention he deserves AND I AM SO EXCITED!!
^ literally me thinking about Blaise and a Blaise sequel ^
8) Your newest favorite character.
There’s been more than one – but I’m just going to pick one.
*inhales* *SCREAMS IN YOUR FACE*
Twigleg!!!!!!!!! TWIGLEG, TWIGLEG, TWIGLEG!!
Twigleg is from a novel called Dragon Rider by Cornelia Funke. He is a manikin by a strange twist of magic. It is implied that he was once a bug or a wood louse but became a person through magic (it sounds weird, but trust me, it wasn’t that weird, and it ended up being beautiful BECAUSE HE LIVES WITH THE FEAR OF BEING CHANGED OUT OF HIS MAGICAL FORM AND HAS BEEN TOLD THAT THE DAY HE LOSES HIS SOUL TO A HUMAN IS THE DAY OF HIS DESTRUCTION AND IT’S . . . EEEEEEEEEE. . . . *claps hands over mouth* *muffled squealing* Okay, I’m not being clear and you’re probably just confused now, but trust me, it’s marvelous.
He is adorable, heroic and full of surprises. He kept me guessing until the very end about what the Big Decision he was ultimately going to have to make and I was on pins and needles as to his fate, but the LITTLE MUFFIN CAME THROUGH LIKE A CHAMP AND MY HEART IS FULL.
He’s basically just the cutest, brightest little guy EVER (with a sarcastic, vengeful streak that was absolutely hilarious), and I’m not going to tell you anymore, you’re just going to have to read it for yourself.
9) A book that made you cry.
The Rise and Fall of Mount Majestic made me get a little misty at the end. I actually had a couple of tears poking at my eyelids, trying to get out.
It definitely put a lump in my throat. That book felt so incredibly personal and captured something of my heart, and it took me by surprise.
Aslan’s death in The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe (a reread) made me a bit misty, too. How could it not?
10) A book that made you happy.
Absolutely Truly by Heather Vogel Frederick! This book’s subtitle could be Aesthetic, it is evocative of so many things and is dripping with homey atmosphere!
11) Your favorite book-to-movie adaptation you’ve seen this year.
Little Women (2018). Although, I’m being quite generous in calling this adaption. This is so different from the novel in setting, tone, character and story, it’s practically a different story. HOWEVER, I THINK THAT’S A GOOD THING, IN THIS CASE.
I’m a book purist when it comes to Little Women, and every remake I’ve ever seen made me cringe at some point (some more than others). Most of them not only butcher the most important themes, they end up making a bad movie, let alone a good adaption.
I didn’t like everything about this version (Mr. Bear, as always, is still the Creepiest Creep that ever Crept Across the Earth) but it had the warmth and heart of the book and most of all, the emphasis of the story was about growing up and what it means to be a sister. The romance was given the back seat (where it belongs) and other heartwarming themes and relationships were given the focus they deserve!
Actually, the whole vibe of the movie made me think more Penderwicks than Little Women, so if you’re someone like me who is longing for a Penderwicks movie, this is a reasonable facsimile. 🙂
12) Your favorite review you’ve written this year.
Hmm – that would have to be either my review for The Rise And Fall Of Mount Majestic or my review for The Magician’s Nephew.
13) The prettiest book you bought this year.
*squints at you*
*walks away grumbling to check out Ebay and Amazon buying history because I can’t remember*
FOUND IT. I scored a honey on Ebay earlier this year. Leather bound editions of the Wizard of Oz series – the complete collection!
From Google Images
From Google Images
From Google Images
They’re gently used (i.e. a little dinged up, faded in spots) but they are overall in good condition and THEY ARE SO PRETTY. I love leather bound books and I always get a serious thrill when I can nab something like this on Ebay for such a deal.
14) The books you want to read for the rest of the year.
Okay, I’d like to read another 100 books this year. Not making any serious plans, that’s just what I’d LIKE to do.
Like all Goodreads users, I have this insane goal to one day actual DEPLETE my to-read shelf and finish all the books!
I’ve been working really hard with a new goal of not adding any new books without removing some, thus keeping my to-read shelf at a certain number so that MAYBE SOMEDAY, IF I START READING FASTER, I CAN ACTUALLY FINISH THEM ALL???
I’M KIDDING. I’m not better than everyone, I’m just a VERY reader.
BUT IT’S NOT ENOUGH.
My take on the THE MIDYEAR FREAK OUT BOOK TAG. *bows*
I’m not sure if I’m supposed to tag people or not (WHERE ARE MY INSTRUCTIONS?) so I’m just going to tag the world! (uses hand sanitizer liberally after touching the world).
If you decide to do this tag, do take a mo to tell me about it in the comments below so that I can pop over to your blog and have a decko!
I salute ye, my fellow book worms.
May the freaking be mild and the books wild.