Conversations: Forgetting Books Is No Big Deal


Hello everyone! 
So the topic for this week's Conversation is..
Do you forget books as easily as you read them?

The short answer? Yes

Let's define what forgetting books involves. For me, it involves forgetting minor things, like a minor character's backstory (e.g. who Ernie Macmillan is in Harry Potter) to more major things, like a major plot arc (e.g. Voldemort dies in Harry Potter) or a main character's name (e.g. Harry Potter in Harry Potter). 

There are some books that are more forgettable than others. For me, these are usually contemporary romance novels... >.< They're my favourite genre, but some of them are just so forgettable. Even the good ones are really forgettable to me. If I had to hazard a reason why they're more forgettable for me than most other books, I'd have to say it's because a lot of the same tropes are reused in contemporary romances, such as the 'I-didn't-see-him/her-like-that-until-now" one, the 'best friend' trope, the 'fake boyfriend' trope, etc. Plus, there's also the fact that it's so similar to my life sometimes, I sometimes mix up my life with the book o_O 

Examples of books like these include...
  • The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West - I only read this on Thursday, but I'm beginning to forget major details. I was trying to write a review for it on Goodreads, and I had to look up what the main character's name was. 
  • Anna and the French Kiss - I absolutely love this book...but I've forgotten everything about it. My sister was reading it the other day and fangirling, but I was like '...o_O Who's Bridgette??" 
  • Paper Towns - ??? All I remember is that there's some super cool girl called Margo and she runs away and the main character (IVE FORGOTTEN HIS NAME) tries to find her with clues I think?? Not 100% sure... Same goes with An Abundance of Katherines - all I remember is a guy who's obsessed with girls that are named Katherine, and he eventually ends up with a non-Katherine girl, I think?? NOT SURE xD 
There are some books that are pretty memorable...but I still forget them. This, I attribute to just my poor memory skills, and a lack of rereads. Or binge-reading. And just time in general, to be honest. 
Some books I'm just plain bad at remembering details about are:
  • Percy Jackson series and Heroes of Olympus series - OH MY GOSH, this is the worst offender. I think it's because I binge read these books. But yeah, I reread these books, and I always finish reading the series within two or three days...and five days after that, I go "...wait. What happened in Titan's Curse? Who's Frank again??"
  • Deltora Quest series - I think this is just because I haven't reread it in a while...but I recently reread the first series, so I'm on track now! Just gotta read the second and third ones... 
  • Skulduggery Pleasant series - HAHAHAHA, there are honestly so many books in this series, that I've forgotten everything past the first three books (which I reread incessantly) 
  • The Mortal Instruments - To be honest, after City of Ashes, I'm not 100% sure on what happened. Valentine was defeated, and Sebastian's the new baddy, that's all I know o_O 
  • Evernight series - okay, this one is pretty bad. I used to love this series, so I really should know more. Bianca and Lucas (I THINK THATS THEIR NAMES) are like forbidden lovers or something because Bianca is a vampire and Lucas is a vampire hunter, and...that's all I remember, folks! There's some ghosty/wraithy stuff going on too...IT'S BEEN TOO LONG. 
But to be honest, forgetting books isn't a huge struggle for me. People ask each other all the time, "If you could re-read a book and experience it for the first time (again), what book would it be?". For me, with my weird ability to forget books, I can just reread a book, and definitely experience it for the first time. 

Here's the link-up! 


If you can't link up, let me (or other people, through their posts in the link up above) know what you are like with remembering books? Are you like me, and you can't remember most books from a specific genre? Do you think it's a good thing to forget books? Any tips for remembering books? Start up a Conversation! 

On an unrelated note, I'm going on hiatus again...
I honestly do this too often! :/ I've been very busy with university (overloading and doing five subjects instead of the usual four), giving love to my new puppy (LIBBY! <3 ), and working at my job. 
AHHH :( 
I'll definitely stop by and comment on everyone's blogs when I can - but no guarantees with anything on my blog, with the sole exception of this feature, Conversations! 

Keep reading and loving books!
Geraldine


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The Aussie YA Blog Hop | In Which I Cheat and Have Too Many Answers



Although I've lived in Australia for about 10 years - I'm sad to say that I haven't read many Aus YA books until the last few years or so. The #LoveOzYA crew have been instrumental in increasing my awareness of lots of new Aus YA novels, and I've got to give credit to Google - without both of these groups/entities, I wouldn't have been able to answer these questions! 

What I Love About Aussie YA
...can I pick more than one thing? 
I think the great thing about Aus YA novels is how diverse they are. There are so many broad topics that these authors cover, and for a small continent, it's crazy how many great books on so many topics are churned out. 
I also really love reading Aus YA novels and being able to identify with many characters, look at the settings and just go "YES, I know this place!". It makes for a richer reading experience, because then I get to integrate my real-life experiences with what's happening in the novel, and I just have a deeper understanding of the book and what's going on. It forces me to pay more attention instead of skim-reading. 

My Favourite Aussie YA authors
Difficult question! 
Jackie French 
Garth Nix
John Flanagan 
Lynette Noni
Emily Rodda 
...all make my list! I still read some of their books - rereads and new books! 

An Aussie YA book I Grew Up With 
...do I have to choose just one??
Anything by Paul Jennings and Andy Griffiths - their books were ones that I reread constantly as a child. 
Paul Jennings's books were just...creepy and horrifying, and I LOVED IT. 
Andy Griffith's books epitomised LOL and ROFL for me - they were so humorous...and my parents disapproved of his type of humor...so naturally I loved reading his books! 

My Favourite 2016 Aussie YA book 
I really loved reading Akarnae by Lynette Noni, and I was super happy that Noni also published the sequel to Akarnae, Raelia, this year! 

An Aussie YA Debut I'm Looking Forward To 
I actually don't keep up with debuts too often, to be honest. So no answer here... 
If you've got any recommendations though...hit me up below! :) 

My Favourite Aussie YA series 
THERE ARE JUST TOO MANY
Honestly so surprised that not many people know about these series - they both got me reading fantasy, I think! 

An Unexpected Aussie YA Surprise 
I didn't expect that she is an Australian, actually! Thanks Google for letting me know! :P 
But honestly, I used to read Emily Rodda's novels constantly. Like they'd always be at the library, and I would borrow them out and just read. 
Here are a couple of the series that I used to read from her: 
Deltora Quest books - there are four series now, I believe! 
...she's honestly such a prolific writer - I admire her so much! 


An Aussie YA Book I will ALWAYS recommend to others
...once more, do I HAVE TO CHOOSE JUST ONE?? 
I'm not going to choose just one - anything by Jackie French
Jackie French is remarkable with historical fiction. Especially some of her Australian fiction works. Honestly, I never cared about Australian history in history classes at school - but reading her work helped me learn about Australia's history, and it was just so much more interesting when she wrote about it! 
Some of her titles set in Australia - I haven't read all of them, by the way: 

An Aussie YA book on my TBR

It sounds really interesting, and definitely relevant to Australia. We've had lots of debate around refugees and letting them into Australia in the past couple of years - so I'd love to see how Abdel-Fattah writes about it in When Michael Met Mina

My favourite Aus YA bloggers
I actually don't know toooooo many Aus YA bloggers. I used to think that there were virtually no Aus YA bloggers...but I now know one or two, which I'm so grateful for!
This is in any random order! 
1. Brett @ Brett Michael Orr - Brett is not only an Australian blogger, but also a writer, so woo! :D He and I both come from Brisbane, which is epic! 
2. Jean @ Happy Indulgence - Jean also comes from Brissy :D And I love tuning in to her #LoveOzYA segment on ABC Radio! :) 
3. Emily @ Loony Literate - Emily has some of the most gorgeous photos, and her posts are insightful and just a pleasure to read@ 
4. Cait @ PaperFury - no comment. Just check out her blog...and you'll know what I mean ;) 
5. Maddie @ PasoMaddie - honestly one of the friendliest bloggers I know! :) 

Keep reading and loving books!
Geraldine


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Conversations: I Love My Books!



So, this is a bit of a late post...sorry! 
The Conversations topic for this week is... 
How do you show your love for a book?

We all love our books. I mean, that's why you're here reading this post right? And that's definitely why I have my blog! But how do you guys show that you love a book? Here are a couple of ways that I do...

1. Write a lovely review - Whenever I absolutely love a book, I make sure to write a review on it, and try to force as many people to read it. After all...if no one knows the book, how else will I get to spill all the feels?? 

2. Buy different editions of the book - this applies more to classics and books that get more reprints in general, but I love looking at the different covers, looking at how they vary! 

3. Take lots of bookstagram photos with it - To be honest, I don't usually use bookstagram a lot...but I still take lots of photos of my favourite books! I just don't upload them >.< But what better way to showcase a wonderful book, than by highlighting it on bookstagram? 

4. Binding it with protective film - This only applies to paperback books, but I usually protect all my books from spills, large creases by covering them with stickyback or contact. This doesn't fully protect them from everything, of course, but it does add an extra layer of protection, which lets me sleep better at night, knowing my books are protected! 

5. Writing in it- OKAY, I know this is blasphemy, but I actually kind of like writing in my books. Usually, when I have a favourite book anyway, I have a second copy of that book. And in that second copy, I annotate. I highlight my favourite parts of the book, and I write notes (usually me going "AHHH", and just me spilling out all the feels). It makes for a very...interesting reread session down the track! 

This was a short, more list-y topic this week! I hope you enjoyed it - let me know if you prefer list-like topics or if you like the usual lengthy debate-esque topics we have! 
Also - let me know in the comments or in the link-up, how you show your love for all the books! <3 



Keep reading and loving books!
Geraldine


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Soundless by Richelle Mead | Sub-par At Best, Problematic At Worst



The Breakdown


General Info:
     Title: Soundless 
     Author: Richelle Mead
     Genre: YA, Fantasy 
     Publisher: Razorbill
     Publishing Date: November 10th, 2015

Thoughts:
     Excellent:
          - The concept was original
          - Writing simple to read 

    Things that could have been better:
         - The characters were 2D 
         - Concept execution was poor 
         - Illogical events 
         - Appropriation of Chinese culture

Rating: 1.5 stars
Goodreads | Amazon


Initial Thoughts

I absolutely loved Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy series. I read it in 2012, because my friends were reading it, and I pretty much binge-read it because it was just so good. When I heard that Mead was publishing a book that had Asian influences - I was super excited! After all, my heritage is Malaysian-Chinese, so I was really excited to dive into Soundless. 

In a village without sound…

For as long as Fei can remember, no one in her village has been able to hear. Rocky terrain and frequent avalanches make it impossible to leave the village, so Fei and her people are at the mercy of a zipline that carries food up the treacherous cliffs from Beiguo, a mysterious faraway kingdom. 

When villagers begin to lose their sight, deliveries from the zipline shrink. Many go hungry. Fei and all the people she loves are plunged into crisis, with nothing to look forward to but darkness and starvation.

One girl hears a call to action…

Until one night, Fei is awoken by a searing noise. Sound becomes her weapon.

She sets out to uncover what’s happened to her and to fight the dangers threatening her village. A handsome miner with a revolutionary spirit accompanies Fei on her quest, bringing with him new risks and the possibility of romance. They embark on a majestic journey from the peak of their jagged mountain village to the valley of Beiguo, where a startling truth will change their lives forever…

And unlocks a power that will save her people.

Characters

The characters were really two-dimensional. Fei was driven solely for her love for her sister. Whilst admirable - there was nothing much that really defined Fei as a character to me. 

The main couple in the books weren't shippable to me - they had absolutely no spark, no chemistry. It felt like they were just smooshed together, with no common ground between the two. Pretty much, it was like tokenism, but with romance, if that makes sense? Having a main couple in there, just to have romance. 

In general, the characters were forgettable - writing this review now, I've actually forgotten most of the character names, and their attributes. But maybe that's just me...

I also found the character depictions to be problematic. I was hoping for some representation in Soundless, but honestly, if you replaced the character names with Western names, the book would still flow as smoothly as if you had done nothing. All that makes this book 'diverse' is the character names. There is nothing else that really depicts a Chinese culture, and it was appropriation of Chinese culture.

Plot

The world didn't make sense to me, despite its originality. There are different classes of people in the world that Mead constructs in Soundless - the most important of which are artists and the least valued are miners. Artists get preferential treatment - miners are generally left hanging for scraps. However, miners work more and are critical towards maintaining the economy of the world. This contrast in value and necessity just didn't make sense to me. In our world, we have doctors who are paid more (generalisation, sorry!), and that's because they are essential towards maintaining the health of the population. Essentially, with Mead's world, doctors are less valued than painters. And to me, that didn't make sense.

Writing Style

Mead's writing is clear-cut as it was in Vampire Academy. Simple to read and easy to follow writing, that is Mead's talent. I would have thought it would be hard to depict communications between people who don't speak, and use hand gestures to communicate, but Mead manages it somehow. Despite this, this unique trait is diminished with the way that Mead presents it. It's difficult to explain, but Mead writes as if the characters are speaking to each other normally, which diminishes the uniqueness of having non-speaking characters. 

There's nothing that stands out with the writing - no wonderful quotes, no lyrical phrases, nothing. Just simple, easy to follow writing. 

Entertainment Value 

I had to force myself to read Soundless. It just didn't entertain me very much, because I found it problematic, filled with appropriation 

Final Thoughts

The only thing that was bearable about Soundless was perhaps Mead's writing style. As I've stated time and time before, the characters make or break a book for me, and in Soundless, the characters were subpar at best.The cover is gorgeous - but as we all know, we shouldn't judge books by their cover, and it is certainly the case with Soundless. 

Rating



Keep reading and loving books!
Geraldine



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Blog Milestone: ONE HUNDRED BLOGLOVIN' FOLLOWERS, BABY!


So....
 ONE HUNDRED OF YOU FOLLOW ME ON BLOGLOVIN'! 
Woohoo! 
I can't believe that one hundred of you follow me, read my ramblings, comment and justify my incoherency! 

To celebrate, and thank you all, I'm holding a giveaway, open internationally, for any book of your choice (so long as it's offered at The Book Depository), up to $12 USD! I know the struggles of not living in the US/Canada - so international people, come, click, participate! :) You can enter, so long as The Book Depository ships to you! 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms and Conditions: 
You have to be 13 years or over to enter this giveaway. If not, your parent/guardian's permission is required. 
You need to be willing to give out an address for me to mail the book. 
I am not responsible for the condition that the book arrives in, nor if it is lost in the mail. 

Now...for the mushy part. To me, 100 Bloglovin' followers is such an achievement. Eight months ago, when I restarted Corralling Books, I had no idea I'd have such supportive friends and meet so many lovely people. I had no idea that I would discover more fantastic books. My first attempt at book blogging was pretty much a flop - I was just writing reviews, doing Top Ten Tuesdays - not interacting with people at all. 
Flash forward to now. My proudest achievement so far is Conversations, the discussion meme I started recently. It's been awesome seeing everyone respond to the discussion prompts, create their own posts, and just talk in general. I'm also pretty excited about all the buddy reads I've done. Although I still have to finish some (-cringes-), some of the best books I've read have come about from doing buddy reads with others - thank you for broadening my horizons. 

It's been a great journey so far, and I can't wait to meet more of you, to engage with you, and to just flail over ALL THE BOOKS. 

Keep reading and loving books!
Geraldine


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Akarnae by Lynette Noni



The Breakdown


General Info:
     Title: Akarnae
     Author: Lynette Noni 
     Genre: YA, Fantasy, Sci-Fi
     Publisher: Pantera Press
     Publishing Date: February 1st, 2015

Thoughts:
     Excellent:
          - Loveable characters
          - Simple writing style 

    Things that could have been better:
         -  Dimensionality of characters - most were 2D

Rating:  4 stars
Goodreads | Amazon


Initial Thoughts

I’ve heard a bit about Akarnae from around Twitter and other book bloggers, and when Lynette Noni stopped by in my city, I decided to go meet her and see her books for myself! It was a very spur-of-the-moment thing, but I’m glad I did it – Noni was really friendly and outgoing, and she convinced me to buy Akarnae! Not only did she sway me with her claim that it’s like a mixture of Harry Potter, Narnia and X-Men in one, but the book was also $10 Australian dollars. That’s pretty much the cheapest that new books can be in Australia! Delighted, I set off into the world that is (insert the world here), and needless to say, I was quickly immersed in it.

With just one step, sixteen-year-old Alexandra Jennings's world changes—literally.

Dreading her first day at a new school, Alex is stunned when she walks through a doorway and finds herself stranded in Medora, a fantasy world full of impossibilities. Desperate to return home, she learns that only a man named Professor Marselle can help her... but he's missing.

While waiting for him to reappear, Alex attends Akarnae Academy, Medora's boarding school for teenagers with extraordinary gifts. She soon starts to enjoy her bizarre new world and the friends who embrace her as one of their own, but strange things are happening at Akarnae, and Alex can't ignore her fear that something unexpected... something sinister... is looming.

An unwilling pawn in a deadly game, Alex's shoulders bear the crushing weight of an entire race's survival. Only she can save the Medorans, but what if doing so prevents her from ever returning home?

Will Alex risk her entire world—and maybe even her life—to save Medora? 

Characters

The characters were a bit cheesy to me – they could have come out of a middle-grade novel. Regardless, I loved most of the characters, because they were just fun to read about. They had their own personalities – you had Bear, the loveable, mature one and Jordan, Bear’s cheeky counterpart. Alex was a combination of headstrong and fearless – it was enjoyable to read about her.

The one complaint I will have with the characters though, is how utterly two dimensional they were. For example, we knew who the antagonists of the novel were immediately, and they remained our antagonists for the whole story. We had some background to why one of the antagonists was “evil”, but he had no redeeming qualities.

Plot

I felt like there wasn’t so much plot, as there was world-building. There’s a mysterious danger throughout Alex’s stay at Akarnae, and at the start it is established that she wants to go back to her home, but then then Alex and the people around her don’t take any active steps towards resolving the issue.
The climax was very interesting to read though – it was action-packed and gripping, and the twist wasn’t one I could see coming!
The world building though…that was marvellous. Akarnae is a mixture of fantasy and sci-fi. Things we would consider as magical are given a scientific explanation – for example, there is a menu that, when you press the name of a dish, that dish pops right out of nowhere, and it’s ready to eat! MY DREAM. I would honestly just order chocolate and other chocolate derivatives all day… -daydreams- Maybe it’s better that I live on this Earth though…I think my body would hate me if I just ate chocolate all day xD

Writing Style

Noni writes very simplistically, which I actually quite liked. Although it reads almost as a middle-grade novel with the simple language, there are some things said and written that clearly makes it a YA novel, such as the little innuendos that Jordan says, and some of the darker themes explored, such as family estrangement. I loved how Noni managed to combine a simple writing style with innuendos, so that it’s suitable for both younger and older audiences. Fluid and easy to comprehend, Akarnae was like a breeze on a summer’s day – well received by me!

Entertainment Value

Akarnae was really entertaining. When I read it, I was in the middle of a reading slump. It didn’t get me out of my reading slump, per se, but it hooked me enough to keep me reading a bit during my reading slump. I wasn’t interested in any other books but this one – and I was sad when it finally finished, because I realised I wouldn’t have anything else to read. I’ll definitely be getting Noni’s second book, Raelia, when I can! 

Final Thoughts

Lynette Noni was right: Akarnae is certainly a book for Harry Potter, Narnia and X-Men fans. As a fan of all three, I was certainly captivated by Akarnae’s beautiful world. It certainly relived the magic of those three fandoms for me! I will definitely be picking up the sequel, Raelia! :) I actually just got it at the library, so YESS :D 

Akarnae definitely spins a couple of tropes around again, but the brilliant execution excuses it! 

Rating




Thoughts in a Phrase

Harry Potter, X-Men and Narnia in one! 

Keep reading and loving books!
Geraldine



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Conversations: Reading Book Series - yay or nay?


First things first: what is the plural of book series? Seriei? Serii? Serieses? Just 'series'? I DON'T KNOW. #bookstruggles

I'm gonna go with 'series' - thank you Twitter people! 

Anyway, the topic for this week is...
Reading book series: yay or nay? 

I read a lot of book series. I've also read a lot of stand-alones. I don't actually have a solid opinion on this, because there are many reasons to read book series, and also many reasons to not read them...let's take a look, shall we? 

YAY! Book Series Are The BEST!


1. You only need to read the first book to orient yourself to the universe - This is particularly true with fantasy/sci-fi book series. One thing I dislike about reading a new book (gasp!) is the amount of time it takes for me to jump into the universe and learn about the characters. With book series, this issue is reduced. I can just read the first book, and then I'm set for the next few books! 
2. You get more of your favourites - I was so happy to read Vampire Academy, and then subsequently find out it was a series...I was elated. It meant more sassy Rose, more of the Moroi/Strigoi universe, and more flails. 
3. Easy birthday/Christmas shopping- I always find it easy to buy books for my friends if I know they like a book series. For example, James, a friend of mine in high school, bought me Fall of Five, in the Lorien Legacies, for my birthday because he knew I loved that series. It's just easy to buy presents, because you can buy the next book in the book series for your friend - that way they are guaranteed to love the present! 
4. Bookstagram goals - With complete book series, you can take photos of them, show it off on bookstagram, and be like a proud mama! Look at how I boasted of my Skulduggery Pleasant collection! 

Nay - I say give me a stand-alone any day!


1. You always forget what happened in the first book - ...this honestly happens to me wayyy too often. I read so many books, sometimes information blurs between them, and I also forget what happened, etc. So sometimes, I find that I have to reread the first book, and endure painful reintroductions, relearning of the world, before I can read the next book.
2. You could be reading another book - so many books, too little time right? Shouldn't we be sharing the love with other books, other characters as well? 
3. Different editions are painful - One of my biggest pet peeves is when books of the same series don't align up perfectly in a bookshelf because they're from different editions. I'll be honest, it's not a hugeee deal-breaker. But sometimes, I'll be staring at my bookshelves, annoyed by how I've got different book editions of books in a series, because I bought them at a different time. The best example is The Infernal Devices. I bought the first two from Book Depository because they had already come out, and they were a small, cute A6-ish size. But then Clockwork Princess came out, and I HAD to have it - but they only had the large A5-ish edition...needless to say, I cringe whenever I see those books on the bookshelf 

After writing this post, I think for me, it's safe to say that I love book series if I can bingeread them. This means I have to like the first book at least! 

For example, I love book series when it comes to ones like Vampire Academy, Anna and the French Kiss, the Shadowhunter universe, etc. because I can binge read them. 
But I don't like A Song of Fire and Ice, because I never got into the first book. Whilst I liked it - I didn't love it, and it's been too long since I last read Game of Thrones for me to go on with A Clash of Kings

What do you guys think? Do you always like/dislike book series? If so, give me reasons to like/dislike book series! Or like me, does it depend on the scenario? If so - what does it depend on? Let me know in the comments below! As always, if you've written a post for Conversations this week...don't be shy, link up here! I want to hear what you think! :) 




Keep reading and loving books!
Geraldine


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