Top Lists

Series I Won’t Be Continuing

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Last week I posted my top ten series to continue reading in 2016. This week I thought I’d do the opposite and discuss series that I’ve given up on, or definitely don’t plan on giving any more chances.

Grave Sight Grave Secret

I’ve read books two and three of the Harper Connolly series by Charlaine Harris, but not book one or book four (yeah, weird order, just the ones I happened to own). After the rather… almost incestuous events of book three, I have no interest in continuing this series, thank you very much.

The 100 The 100

The television series of The 100 by Kass Morgan was great, although it took me two attempts to get into it. I am more than happy to continue with that, and am looking forward to the next season. The books however? Nah. This is a case of the adaptation being VERY different from the book – not so unusual – but also the adaptation being a much better version. Not something that seems to happen very often. The book felt lifeless compared to the show.

Evil Star Night Rise Necropolis

I bought the first three books of The Power of Five (also called The Gatekeepers) by Anthony Horowitz from a charity shop for 50p each, as it was a series I’d always wanted to read. However, I think I got to this one far too late. If I’d read it in my teens, maybe I would have enjoyed it a lot more. As it is, it doesn’t work for me, and I’ll be taking those books back to the charity shop…

Those Below

I was so sad that The Empty Throne series by Daniel Polansky just did not work for me. I saw it before release, admired the cover, and then was sent a copy by Hodder. Unfortunately it was just lacking something to make it really work for me. But just look at the cover of the second book – so gorgeous!

Shadow's Edge Beyond the Shadows

The first book of the Night Angel series by Brent Weeks was a Fantasy Book of the Month for my Goodreads book group, and I’m normally pretty happy with what we choose. I even already had this one on my shelf. Unfortunately, it was not at all what I’d expected. It felt so flat, boring and disappointing. Maybe some of Brent Weeks’ other work is for me, but not this series.

Captive Queen

All I want to say here is that the first book of The Blackcoat Rebellion series by Aimee Carter was hands down the worst book I read in 2015. I think that pretty much sums it up.

18812716 Catacomb

I was hoping that the Asylum series by Madeleine Roux would be a Miss Peregrine style story infused with creepy photos. It turned out to be an absolutely rubbish story with the worst characters, and photos that served no real purpose.

Untamed Hunted Tempted

The very thought of the House of Night series by P.C. Cast and Kristen Cast makes me shudder. I read the first three books a couple of years ago, as my sister owned them and I was home from university for Christmas, reading everything I could in the meanwhile. They’re the sort of books that are so bad you kind of want to keep reading, like when you drive past an accident and don’t want to look but human nature makes you. Absolute trainwrecks.

Earth Star Earth Flight

This makes me a little sad, because I really wanted to love the Earth Girl series by Janet Edwards. I met Janet at Bristolcon and she was lovely, she even took part in the first Sci-Fi Month – but I cannot stand Jarra, the main character of this series. I wanted to bitch slap her so hard.

Day Shift Night Shift

Sorry Charlaine Harris. Midnight, Texas is your second series on here. I love you for writing the Sookie Stackhouse novels, but I don’t seem to have much luck with the rest of your work. The first book was just so… uneventful, I have no interest in reading any further.

Are there any series you’ve given up on? Have you read any of these series, and if so what did you think?

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Monthly Roundup

Monthly Roundup: December 2015

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Every first Wednesday of the month, I’ll be posting a roundup of the month just gone, and writing about what’s to come in the next few weeks.

 

Spectacles Bridget Jones Bridget Jones Midnight Never Come Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass #1) by Sarah J. Maas Will Grayson An Ice Cold Grave The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde At Home Half Bad The 100 The Dinner

 

Last month I read a total of twelve books: Spectacles by Sue Perkins, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (Bridget Jones #2) by Helen Fielding, Bridget Jones’ Diary (Bridget Jones #1) by Helen Fielding, Midnight Never Come (Onyx Court #1) by Marie Brennan, Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass #1) by Sarah J. Maas, Will Grayson, Will Grayson by David Levithan and John Green, An Ice Cold Grave (Harper Connolly #3) by Charlaine Harris, The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, At Home: A Short History of Private Life by Bill Bryson, Half Bad (Half Bad #1) by Sally Green, The 100 (The 100 #1) by Kass Morgan and The Dinner by Herman Koch.

December saw three re-reads, two because I just fancied re-reading them when I was at my parents’ for Christmas (both Bridget Jones books), and the other in preparation for my Throne of Glass readalong! In terms of a standout book for December, I’d have to go for Bill Bryson’s At Home: A Short History of Private Life. I’ve always loved Bryson, he has a fantastic way of writing that makes just about anything interesting – proven once again by this book, where I was entranced by the history of everyday objects such as the lightbulb or the staircase…

 

Challenge progress:

  • The DC vs Marvel Challenge is now done and dusted, although I didn’t manage to complete it entirely! 2016 sees another version of the challenge, run once again by the wonderful Michael.
  • I beat my Goodreads goal – originally 52, then 75, then 100 books! 2015 saw me read 102 books.

 

Currently reading:

Cress
How was December for you?

Monthly Roundup

Monthly Roundup: November 2015

monthlyru16

Every first Wednesday of the month, I’ll be posting a roundup of the month just gone, and writing about what’s to come in the next few weeks.

 

The Emperor's Blades Golden Son Edge of Tomorrow Feed Ubik Illuminae The HIve Construct Clariel by Garth Nix A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan Brooklyn

 

Last month I read a total of ten books: The Emperor’s Blades (Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne #1) by Brian Staveley, Golden Son (Red Rising #2) by Pierce Brown, Edge of Tomorrow by Hiroshi Sakurazaka, Feed (Newsflesh Trilogy #1) by Mira Grant, Ubik by Philip K. Dick, Illuminae (Illuminae Files #1) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff, The Hive Construct by Alexander Maskill, Clariel (The Old Kingdom #4) by Garth Nix, A Natural History of Dragons (Memoir by Lady Trent #1) by Marie Brennan and Brooklyn by Colm Toibin.

As last month was Sci-Fi Month, I tried to read as much science fiction as possible. Golden Son was definitely the stand-out book of the month, and my review will be posted in January, as part of the readalong in preparation for the release of Morning Star! I also particularly enjoyed Ubik, from one of the masters of science fiction, Philip K. Dick. In true PKD style, it’s odd but so, so unique and wonderful. Brooklyn was sweet, not at all my usual sort of book but I went to see the film with my mum when I visited my parents last week, and it was a gorgeous film, which encouraged me to pick up the book.

 

Challenge progress:

  • I read two books towards the DC vs Marvel Challenge. The final villain of the challenge is Mister Sinister.
  • I have currently read 90 books towards my Goodreads goal of 100.

 

Currently reading:

The 100
How was November for you?

Sci-Fi Month

Sci-Fi Month 2015: It’s The End of the World As We Know It

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This post is part of Sci-Fi Month 2015, a month long event to celebrate science fiction hosted by myself and Over the Effing Rainbow. You can view the schedule here, follow the event on Twitter via the official @SciFiMonth Twitter account, or the hashtag #RRSciFiMonth.

A common trope of science fiction is to show the Earth greatly transformed, or even completely destroyed, in some way. Our poor planet has been used and abused throughout the history of the genre. Here’s a brief guide to the (post-)apocalypse, or dystopian future, covering books, TV, films and video games.

Aliens

Mass Effect The 5th Wave Defiance The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells War of the Worlds Independence Day The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham 826847

In these titles, Earth is either destroyed or invaded by aliens. In the latter, it is altered to a state where it is unrecognisable: either through the collapse of society and government, or destruction of large portions of the planet. Sometimes the extra-terrestrials are aggressive, sometimes they are just inquisitive, and other times we’re not even aware of them until it is too late.

Mass Effect, The 5th Wave, Defiance, The War of the Worlds (plus the 2005 film version), Independence Day, The Day of the Triffids, The Midwich Cuckoos.

Illness/Disease

The Passage by Justin Cronin Blindness Oryx and Crake Partials by Dan Wells Parasite I Am Legend by Richard Matheson The Stand Children of Men The Strain

These titles show an Earth ravaged by illness, disease or plague, including technological viruses and biological warfare. In many of them, the illness transforms humankind into something else, often zombie or vampire-like creatures.

Humankind

The Hunger Games Divergent The 100 The Years of Rice and Salt Unwind The Man in the High Castle How I Live Now A Canticle for Leibowitz

Science fiction frequently shows how humankind causes its own downfall, often through war or revolt. This is a particularly popular theme in current Young Adult dystopian fiction, although it’s not exactly a new trend in the genre. This is one of the more frightening sides of sci-fi: how we become our very own worst enemies. Occasionally, it shows a glimpse into an alternate future or past.

Natural Disaster

2012 The Day After Tomorrow The Maze Runner by James Dashner Deep Impact Armageddon The Drowned World

This could also technically come under ‘Humankind’, because most of the time the natural disasters are caused by people, namely through global warming and climate change. This category includes these as well as other things such as asteroids/meteors, tsunamis, earthquakes etc.

2012, The Day After Tomorrow, The Maze Runner, Deep Impact, Armageddon, The Drowned World.

Brainwashing/Government

1984 Brave New World by Aldous Huxley Fahrenheit 451 Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand V for Vendetta

Another terrifying thing about science fiction is how government is often portrayed. Often it is shown as being a totalitarian or ‘Big Brother’ society, a term coined from George Orwell’s 1984. Citizens often have very little freedom, or even free will, having been brainwashed into behaving in certain ways.

Machines/Artificial Intelligence

I Robot Robopocalypse Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick Love In the Age of Mechanical Reproduction Prey Neuromancer

Okay, maybe there’s a lot of scary things about science fiction – another one being the very thought of the Earth being overrun or overtaken by machines or artificial intelligence. Many a sci-fi tale tells of the invention of some fantastic new technology, only for it to become sentient and rise up against mankind.

Can you think of any other titles that would fit in these categories, or any categories that I have missed?

Screen Talk

Screen Talk #1: Currently Watching

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As mentioned in my post a few weeks ago, I am making a few changes to the blog – one of which is involving films and television. Screen Talk will be my space to chat about these topics, ranging from reviews, to recommendations and everything in between. However, books will still be the major focus of the blog.

Today I want to discuss the television shows I am currently watching.

Arrow

Arrow

I started watching Arrow on Netflix after a recommendation from a friend. After marathoning the first season in a weekend when I was unwell, I’ve slowed down a bit since and am currently only halfway through season two. However, I really love the show – I’m just trying to finish some others first. I’m enjoying learning more about DC heroes, and will be picking up The Flash when I start season three of Arrow, as recommended. Felicity may well be my favourite, but I also have a soft spot for Diggle. And it doesn’t hurt that Oliver is an archer superhero, I kind of have a thing for archery…

The Borgias

The Borgias

Oh, the Borgia family, you do fascinate me. With their scheming, nepotism, backstabbing and hints other unsavoury practices, they make damn good television. I watched the first few episodes of this series years ago, and somehow never got back round to it. Lately I’ve picked it up again, and have just finished season one. Since it got cancelled after series three, I know I only have twenty or so episodes to go and I’m trying to catch up on this one first. The costumes are beautiful, as is the soundtrack – that opening theme!

Community

Community

One of my absolute favourite shows, I started watching it a couple of years ago. It somehow makes me want to go to community college, but I don’t think I’ll find one like Greendale. When it got cancelled I was heartbroken, and then ecstatic when Yahoo picked it up for season six. I got one of my friends here at university into it, and we’ve been watching it together – him for the first time, and the millionth time for me! However, we’re both watching season six for the first time. As we tend to marathon episodes, we’ve waited for the series to finish (for good :() before carrying on. Although by the time I post this, I may have finished…

Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones

It may be taking a completely different path to the books at this point, since it’s pretty much overtaking them now, but I’m still watching. I’m just too invested in all these characters to give up now. The show also reminds me that I really need to re-read the books at some point. I’m not worried about it spoiling the books because they have pretty much confirmed that things will be different. I can’t wait for more Arya, Brienne and Tyrion, but it’s hard to believe that season five is nearly over already. And I even got to sit on the Iron Throne recently.

Orphan Black

Orphan Black

THIS SERIES. SO GOOD. I was pretty slow watching season one, and then I suddenly hit season two and marathoned it like crazy. I’ve just lately caught up completely with season three after getting behind by about six weeks. It is somehow very complicated yet easily understandable, and season three has brought in even more characters and mystery. It’s just so tense and exciting pretty much ALL the time, and Tatiana Maslany is absolutely fantastic. She pulls off every clone perfectly, they all seem so individul. If you haven’t given Orphan Black a watch yet, I urge you to do so as soon as possible!

I also recently finished Outlander, The 100, Plebs and The Casual Vacancy, plus I have a million shows currently on hiatus.

What shows are you currently watching?

Sci-Fi Month

Sci-Fi Month 2014: Science Flixtion #1

science_flixtion

This post is part of Sci-Fi Month 2014, an event hosted by myself and Oh, the Books!. You can keep up to date by following @SciFiMonth on Twitter, or the official hashtag #RRSciFiMonth.

Science Flixtion is my new mini feature for Sci-Fi Month, where I try out science fiction shows available on Netflix, and then share my thoughts. Everyone is more than welcome to join in with this, and please feel free to use the header above!

The 100

The 100

Okay so I didn’t actually watch The 100 on Netflix, it started airing on E4 in the UK in July. But I wanted to discuss this one because UGHHH IT FRUSTRATED ME SO MUCH. First of all, the logic behind so many of the decisions was just non-existent. There was basically no real explanation for anything, and pretty much every character annoyed me except one, who was quickly killed off. It was predictable and the kids were JUST SO STUPID. The adults weren’t much better. I mean, if these are delinquent teenagers who were locked up for various crimes, why on earth do they expect them to follow orders once they’re on Earth (assuming they don’t immediately die from radiation)? Throw in an obvious and boring love interest and nope nope nope.

Will I continue? [icon name=”fa-thumbs-o-down”] Nope. Dropped after three episodes.

Jericho

Jericho

I’d had my eye on this series for a while – who doesn’t love a good apocalyptic drama? Plus, in comparison to a lot of the other series I’m considering, Jericho doesn’t have a crazy amount of episodes at only 29 over two seasons. I was expecting a more dramatic disaster and was disappointed (in that morbid way of human nature) at how slowly the disaster seemed to affect the town. However, this does mean it seemed a lot more realistic than many apocalyptic shows/movies (here’s looking at you, Roland Emmerich…), and the relationships were well-built. People turn on each other in desperate times, even on family and friends, and the show recognised that. It was a creepy ending to the end of the first episode which left me wanting more!

Will I continue? [icon name=”fa-thumbs-o-up”] Yes, although it won’t be my highest priority.

Orphan Black

Orphan Black

I actually started watching Orphan Black on BBC iPlayer, but I only got as far as the third episode before I fell behind and then was unable to catch up. So I was delighted when it appeared on Netflix – and OH MY GOSH THIS SHOW IS AMAZING. It’s clever, witty, funny but also emotional. Tatian Maslany is amazing, playing so many different characters at once – and they really are different. Each clone has a distinct personality and style, and she switches between characters with ease. I’ve just finished season one and I can’t wait to watch another one. It’s one of those shows that leaves you hanging at the end of every episode, screaming at the screen because you NEED to know what’s about to happen, or you need an explanation. I HIGHLY recommend this show to anyone and everyone.

Will I continue? [icon name=”fa-thumbs-o-up”] OF COURSE. Well I technically already did…

Have you watched any of these shows or are you thinking about it? What are your thoughts on them?