The Role of Male Leads in YA Fantasy (Just heartthrobs?)

YEAH, why?

Going Through Books

And I’m back with another discussion! Which…might just anger a few people, but I cannot just look over this impulse I have for posting my thoughts about this, so here it is!

The discussion today is about the role of male leads in YA fantasy, and whether they are mere heartthrobs.  Hehe. I can already feel some people get riled up, and others hurry to close this post because it doesn’t really interest them or downright offends them. Whatever it is, I hope I do not offend you, and I definitely mean no disrespect for your opinions/feelings.

That being said, one more tiny detail remains without which if I go into this topic, people will probably disown me from the blogging community😛 In my last discussion, where I talked about Why I Really Need to Reduce Reading YA Contemporary, lots of people commented saying that there…

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The only Mirror that can Reflect the Picture of your soul

I have been told to read. 

I have been told to read so that I learn. 

So that I learn more vocabulary, so that I pick up a writing style.

One simple reason to read: learn English.

I have also been told to read to learn more, about every thing. 

About history, about politics and ghilosophy, about the cruality of this world we are living in.

To know stories of people who matter, of people who made history, of people who are writing history, of people who are the present, and of people who will be the future.

I have been told to read to learn about all of this.

But why has no one ever told me that when I read, I learn about ME?! 

Well, I thank all of those people who pushed me to read: my aunts for buying me books while I was little -they have eventualy switched to Hannah Montana’s Magazines when they knew that I was not doing that much reading; my mom for annoying me since day one at university to go and ask every single teacher to give me titles of books to read -I have not asked many of those teachers, though; and some of my teachers who kept and still insisting that we should read a lot while living among a society that unfortunately does not do much reading.

I also thank you for not informing me about the last sentence in my non-rhyming poem (is that even a poem?) because now I can add my little discovery to my list of personal achievements. Aahh! I feel smart🤓 and wise and a grown up (I do not really think my actions reflect that though 🙃) 

So, let me explain to you « when I read, I learn about me »: 

When facing a mirror, one can see his own reflection. 

When facing a broken mirror, one can see little pieces of his reflection.

Imagine a broken mirror that reflects little pieces of your soul, little pieces of your thoughts, little pieces of who you are, little pieces of that one person who no one truly  knows, little pieces of that person that you do not even know yourself.

Those little pieces are passages, passages in books you read, in books you are reading, in books that you will read. 

Have you ever asked yourself why no one in this world is perfect? 

Because no one can read enough books to find all the passages that would make « him ».No one can ever read enough to be able to find and collect all the little pieces of the mirror that can be put together to reflect his soul, his mind, HIMSELF. 

There will always be a part missing. 

Now how big that part could be? It is up to you to decide. It is up to you to choose, to read or not to read? That’s the question.

Now, talking like this can make people who do not know me think:  This girl must have read a lot in her life to have the confidence to say all of this? 

This same thing I am saying can make people who know me say: who the hell she thinks she is? She has read a dozen books in her intire life and she already thinks she is something big.

Here is what I say: no, I do not even know if I can be called a real reader yet. I do not even know if I am officially a bookworm. I know for sure that I am not an intelectual. 

I am simply a twenty one year old girl (who looks and acts nothing like a twenty one year old gir, and I like that. I am not saying it in a negative way) who discovered reading a while ago.

All I have read so far are novels, and I still  find classics a bit complicated. I do not know who the hell is Gatsby (I know he is a character in one of Fitzgerald’s books. I have the paperback, and I read two chapters. As a result, I still have not made a proper aquintance with Mr gatsby yet); I do not know Emma either (it is the title of one of  Jane Austin’s novels, is the main character called Emma? I do not know, yet).

I do have a strong relationship with characters from the following books: 

-1984

– The fault in our stars

-Paper Towns 

-Me before you

-The glittering court

-Confess

-Hopeless 

-A court of mist and fury

And other books, that I gave a 4 or 5 star review. 

As I said, just novels, characters from the 21 century (and otherimaginary time zones). 

Why do I not have a favourite book but many? Because, no book that has ever been written by a human being can have it all. All books, combined together, can have it « most ».

What is it so different about these YA, romance, fantesy, sci-fi books? Thinking of it now, not much reaaly. 

Why are they so special to me? That is a whole different story. 

In these books I found passages. Passages that do not have a very complicated literay meaning. Passages that would maybe not even have a meaning to some people, I’d rather say to most people. 

Those passages are little mirrors tha reflect ME. I was so amazed,once,reading then thinking: wow! This is exactly what describes my thoughts, I have never really had words to describe it. Not even in my head, it was just a thought, a feeling, that today I am reading! 

Another passage that made me think: I know this character, this is the twin I have never had.

Author passages that  made me think: if this character and the way s/he thinks were real, I would believe in this whole soulmate story, I would believe in the existence of unselfish people (other than mothers), I would do anything for this person. 

I know I sound so dramataic, but these little passages, and these characters that do not even have a facial picture in my haid, showed me something. They did not teach me, it was already there, they have just translated it to words. Words that I can see, words that I understand. Words that mean: this is what I want, this is what I think, this is ME!  

I keep collecting those little passages, and try to make a picture of me. A picture that the broken mirror would reflect if it was not broken. 

Not to sound pathetic, not to sound lost, or depressed, or without a guide in this world; I have to make a point: I said no book that has ever been written by a human being can have it all, there is a book that has it all, a book that came from the skies called Al Quran. No human being will ever be perfect, becaus the only perfection in this world is God: Allah. No author will ever be a better teacher than Muhamed. 

But, that does not mean we cannot look for lessons, advice, meanings of things by looking into other books, or asking other people. The exact and perfect answers have existed since the 7th century, we just have not been able to understand them all so far. Neverthless, human can exchange knowledge and help each other figure out things in different ways, as long as those ways do only good and no harm to the person himself and to people around him.

At the end, I must say that I know the last part looks maybe a little too personal, by writing it, I hope no one reading this will be offended. I respect all religions and I am sure that you’re as proud of your belief as I am of mine.

If you read: never stop, look for yourself and try to put together most of the pieces of your mirror.

If you do not: I really hope you have someone else helping you collecting your little pieces, but if you do not you can always start looking somewhere: in a book.

And remember, « Magic do not only exist in fantesy books, it exist in every other book » (you can quote me 😊) 

                                                                                                                    X😘X😘   -Ines    

How can I read more Books?  

How can I read more books? Is a question that book lovers keep constantly asking themselves. Especially if one has a record of unfinished book challenges 😢 

Do not worry, I am here for you. And, I have 8 amazing tips that would make you read more books than you’ve ever had. 

The tips that I will be listing down below will 100% work. I am not going to say I tried some of them, because I did not. I MADE THOSE TIPS; I worked by them even when I did not know I was doing so. So, before they became a list of simple pieces of advice on a blog post; they were the result of a succesful reading challenge finished in half the time it was supposed to take. 

Not to brag or anything (maybe just a little 😜), I went from 0 books per year ( since I can’t remember till 2014) to 30 books in 6 months this year!! I know, I am surprised too; I was supposed to read that number in 12 months. 

So, here is what I did, and what you can also do:

1- Surround yourself with books

Try to make a little place on your shelves for books (buy one that seems interesting from time to another -even if you know you won’t be reading it instantly- and put it on your shelf. Before you’ll know it, books will take over all of your shelves) so when you’re in your room doing nothing but staring at walls, a book might grab your attention. Just bring it and start reading, and no one will see you or hear from you during the 10 hours that follow.

Paperbacks might be too expensive, or you might not find the ones you want (believe me I know the struggle). Surrounding yourself with books can be done in an ELECTRONIC way: DOWNLOAD BOOKS and make a huge library on your phone/tablet (you’ll know why and how -to find nice books- later, just keep reading).

2- Surround yourself with people who love to read

Join book clubs at your school or local library (if possible), and keep in touch with them on social media. Someone will always post about a book that might become your next favourite book of all times. 

Meeting people and book lovers does not have to always be in real life; it can also be on social media.

Facebook: Subscribe to pages about books, follow or add accounts that constantly post about books (whose owner is an active member in the book community). 

Instagram: Follow bookstagrams (Instagram accounts that post pictures of books and write short reviews about them).THEY ARE AMAZING!

Youtube: Subscribe to booktubes (channels about books), you will never miss any news about the latest books and movies adaptations. 

Social media helped me a lot; every time I see or read about a nice book, I download it right away and keep it in my iPad’s library (the answer to the how, tip #1). I NEVER KNOW WHEN I’LL NEED TO READ IT. 

PS: Do not say, I will download it later, because you’ll either forget about the title and it is never easy to find a post on social media when your 999 followers are are posting 87 post per minute. Or, you just be like: books are going no where, I’ll find another book to download later<= this is why you’ll never have a bookworm’s electronic library, and you’ll never find what to read when you want to read.

3- Join book challenges

I know that my post seems to be about « how to finish your book challenge », since I have already talked a bit about that in the introduction, but I have to explain this to readers who have never joined one, and give a few pieces of advice to those who already have. 

Book challenege: is the a number of books that you have to read in a specific period of time. 

You can set your book challenge just by mentally telling yourself: okay, lazyass, you have to read 12 books in the next 4 months. And you need to start this afternoon… Aaah maybe tomorrow, this afternoon you have to go get that bag you saw last week in the boutique. 

The next time you’ll remember your challenge is when you need a new bag. 

So, my favourite website/app to keep on track with my reading challenge is GOODREADS: you set up your challenge at the beginning of the year, and it will constantly tell you if you’re ahead or behind, and how many books you need to read to get back on track if you’re behind. 

You can also join groups on facebook in which the members put a number of books to be read in a period of time. What is great about these kind of groups is that everyone finishes a book in a different day, as a result; readers (helps with tip #2) will post about some book every day ,and that will help you to find new books to download (help with tip #1), and will remind you all the time that you have a challenge to accomplish. 

But, before you join these kind of  groups make sure to: 

-Never do the math of: I have to read 24 books in 12 months, that would make 2 books each month. And then you’ll be having exams in December, reading slumps in November and February, trips during spring, family to visit sometimes during summer… (As busy as a business woman/man) and when you miss a couple of months you’ll be like: this is impossible, I will never be able to finish this freaking challenge, I QUIT. 

But, reading depends on the mood: you can read 0 book this month and 10 next month. That is why  I am telling you not to do the math, and not to force yourself to read.

– Choose a group with a good period of time for their challenge: just like for the problem of math, if the period of the challenge is very short, you might not be able to make up for those times when you have not read much. That would make you feel frustrated and you’ll never join a challenge again. Try to find a challenge that goes for 6 or 8 months at least, because during that period you will have some breaks and holidays in which you can do some catch up on your reading.

4-  Read books that will soon be turned into movies

Scrolling through Facebook the other day, I have seen a picture saying: » How to know if a person has read the book before seeing the movie? They will tell you, they will fucking tell you » 

I laughed so hard, of course I’ll tell you if I read the book. Why? To scare the shit out of you and pretend that I will spoil what is happening in the next scene. 

Adding to your TBR books that are going to be turned into movies is a great way to read more, especially if the lead is going to be one of your favourite actresses or actors. This way, you can review both the movie and the book later. And, you can have fun looking at your friends’ faces while you pretend you’re about to spoil the whole movie.

5- Link reading with another activity that you like to do

Since I am majoring in English, I obviously read to learn more vocabulary and write better. But, I never enjoy a book if it is a homework. School always ruins all the fun. 

So, as a motive to read and learn more, I decided to mix between reading and facebooking (the act of doing nothing all day but scroling through a home page full of posts that make people argue if a dress is blue or golden. C’mon it was freaking black and white!) 

That is how I created Algerian Book Readers (along with some awesome admins who became my favourite online friends) to find more readers in my country, we exchange pieces of writing and suggest books to each other… (Helps with tip #1 and #2)

Blogging is also a good and fun activity to do, but write about what? Write about books you read. People reacting to your posts is a great way to stay motivated, and you’ll want to read more books so that you can blog more ,that’s how you become a faster reader and a better writer.

If you’re a fan of twitter, instagram, tumbler or youtube; you can create an account/blog/channel with the theme of reading and books. (It will help a lot with tips #1 and#2) 

6-Never leave the house without a book

Even if you have a busy day and you do not think you’ll have time to read, take a book or your e-reader with you whenever you’re going to school. Maybe some teacher will be absent and you’ll have some free time to read, maybe you’ll see someone annoying getting on the same bus as you so you’ll grab your book and pretend to read (believe me, you won’t be pretending for a long time. You’ll even wish the road was longer so that you could read another chapter). 

7- Do not give up on reading because of a bad book or two.

There are times when you’re like: have all good books disappeared from planet earth?    

Just give the book you’re reading a chance, some books just do not have a very good start. but, if you really don’t like it after four or five chapters then you do not have to force yourself to read it. Just start with another book.

8- Try to surfe less on the NET

I have noticed that when my network subscribtion ends and I do not pay it right away, I tend to read A LOT MORE during those few NET-free days.

So, if you do not really need a network connection for school or work, do not pay it.Take some rest from social media and read. It is super fun, I promise.
At the end, I must tell you that how much you learn from what you read is way more important than how many books you read. Make good book choices ( for example: Kim Kardashian’s book is not really a book that needs to be on your list 😛). 

If you have any good tips to share with me, I will be more than happy to read them. Comment below.

If you’re looking for reading partners you can always leave the link to one of your social media accounts, also down below. 

If you have a blog, bookstagram, booktube… Leave the link to it in a cooment, and if you want help to start one, just ask for it. 

Make sure to share this post with your friends, if you liked it (I know, I know. A lot of ifs, but I am done, I swear 😆). 

                                                                                                          X😘X😘  -Ines

After you (Me Before you #2) by Jojo Moyes Book Review

After you (Me Before you #2) By Jojo Moyes Book Review.

After you “The long awaited sequel to Me Before you”, says the version of the cover  I have. It was really a long time to wait, for those who read the first book back in 2009, since the second one came out in 2015. I just hope that they did not feel deceived, because Me Before you had set the bar pretty high. The sequel was such a good read, but still, I preferred the first book.

Attention to those who have not read the ME BEFORE YOU and are reading this: even the NON SPOILER part contains spoilers from the first book.

After you continues telling Louisa’s story a few months after Will’s death: just when she went back to the UK and started a new life that she did not really ask for. Money was not a problem, since Will left her enough to travel and then to find a place of her own. But, it could never heal the scars left on her heart. Without being her old self, and has not even known her new one, what will happen to Lou?

Louis knew she could not go back to her home town: she could not bear the memories, nor stand the stares and low murmures of people talking about her every time she walked in the streets; plus she no longer could live in her parent’s house. She might not have known her « new » self well, but she was sure to never go back to the old one, that means; she had to start living like a twenty-seven-year-old women, and going back to live with her family was not even an option anymore.

SPOILERS ALLERT

GO READ THE BOOK 

THEN COME BACK

Lily Traynor appearing at Louisa’s door was definitely a surprise that I did not see coming (yes, I jumped when I read: « I need to talk to you about my father […] His name is Will Traynor. ») The story would not have been the same without this character; however, her, always being in trouble was a bit annoying at the end, and I did not really care about what she did, or did not.

It was obvious from the beginning that Lou was going to fall in love with someone new, but the way she met Sam and how they were attracted to each other was WEIRD in a  beautiful way . The part where Sam helped Lily to get her phone back from her abuser made me feel butterflies in my stomach, but I laughed so hard on how they played the man. Also, the part where Sam was hurt ,and Louisa did all of her possible to save him, she was again put in the position of trying to save someone’s life -she could not do it with Will, but she did it with Sam, she finally could save a life- I think that is when she truly realized that she loved Sam more than anyone else.

In the first book, Louisa talked a lot about her family; she was so attached to them, that is not something that we read in every book, and it was just so beautiful. In the second book, her family was present again, but reading about her parents’ problems again and again and again was a bit annoying to me, Louisa who is the main character was not even involved in that, so I really did not understand why I had to read about that, and I did not understand why they needed to change by the end of the book. Some characters were just fine.

Throughout the whole series, we have seen a big change in not only one character. And for that I have to give a high five to the brilliant author because she did a great job (even though the change in Louisa’s mom character was not necessary); she has definitely made me connect with several of them. Me Before you series is one of my favourite reads of 2016, I know we are only half way through the year, but nothing would change my mind about those two books.

The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead Book Review

The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead Book Review.

This is my very first Richelle Mead book and I gave it the easiest five stars that I could ever give on GoodReads.

Going through some book talks on Youtube and some reviews on GoodReads and WordPress, I have realized that a lot of people were disappointed by this book, because the author did a huge mistake of classifying The Glittering Court in the fantasy genre; as a result, reader were expecting to at least come across some magic, paranormal creatures or an out-of-our-world sitting, but that has never come. This novel fits more in a historical- dystopian genre, this for sure, is what every reader agrees on.

Lucky me! I read this book without checking its synopsis, and that worked just perfect for me, because I was not expecting anything from it; therefore, I enjoyed my reading and found other themes than  » magic and paranormal ». And I think this is the best way to read The Glittering Court: without going through the synopsis first.

The main lead is an eighteen year old girl with the name of Elizabeth Witmore and the title of Countess of Rathford. To preserve what remained of her legacy (after the death of her parents), her grandma found her a young and wealthy baron,who shares the same blood line, to marry. The only problem was: she does not know him; she does not love him;and she can have no conversation with him, since all he talks about is his barley (He has a successful barley production, and all what he eats is barley; he has even sent some of it to Elizabeth. Who sends crops to their future wife as a present!) Thinking of this marriage, the young countess realized that she has no control over her life: her past was drawn by a bloodline that can be traced back to the country’s founders, and her future is planned according to her family’s and society’s expectations… NO CHOICES. So, she decided to give it all up and to steal someone else’s life: her maid’s, Ada. With this new fake identity, Elizabeth, oh! sorry, Adelaide joined The Glittering Court: a school and business venture that turned poor girls into upper-class ladies who appear destined for powerful and wealthy marriages in the New World. There, she falls in love with one of the business owners Cedric Thorn. They kept each other’s dangerous secrets, and took care of one another. But, in a time that is more or less close to what we know as The Elizabethan Age, and a place that is almost identical to the British colonies in America, Cedric’s and Adalaide’s relation is a taboo, and it was not too long till someone found out about them. Will their love survive?  The answer is in the book. READ IT.

This book literally swallowed me inside of it; I read it during my final exams, and I put my handouts down so that I could pic up my iPad and finish reading the novel. I could connect with the characters in a very strong and strange way. Life was very hard for people in the time setting of this book; they had to live it according to their society’s thoughts and believes, no matter how old or ‘horrible’ they were. I loved both of Adalaide’s and Cedric’s characters because they rebeled against what they thought was wrong and fought for what they believed was right.

‘I am serious. You’ve made some dangerous choices.’ ‘But I made them myself,’ Cedric said.’And that’s what matters.’

Another theme that I loved in this book is: GIRLS’ POWER. Adalaide’s friends, Mira and Tamsin, are powerful young ladies. The reader could not know much about them, because  their stories will be narrated in the two upcoming novels that will complete  The Glitering Court trilogy . I cannot wait to know more about their backgrounds and the hard circumstances that made them who they are.

A little detail that I would have loved to read more about it is: the reaction of Elizabeth’s (Adalaide)  grandmother when she found out about the truth. Because she looked for her grandchild everywhere, and Elizabeth kept thinking about her all the time, it was obvious that they shared a strong relationship.

c.jpgAnother « kind of » negative thing about this novel is: the human face on the cover. The cover is beautiful, I admit that. But, I hate being given a picture of the protagonist (or any other character). I am sorry Richelle Mead, but this girl on the cover does not look like an Elizabeth or an Adelaide to me.

To conclude, the story is just amazing; I totally recommend it. The message and characters are so deep, and the reading is so enjoyable.

Confess by Colleen Hoover Book Review [Spoiler Free]

Confess by Colleen Hoover Book Review [Spoiler Free]

I broke my last reading record when I clicked on one of Colleen Hoover’s books a few days ago; I usually read and finish one novel (of about 350 pages) during 48 hours, but when it comes to Colleen Hoover’s; I finished them in less than 24 hours! Simply, because I  literally did not put down my  tablet once I start reading: I do not stop reading till my eyes close down alone at night, and the moment I wake up in the morning I turn on my iPad and start reading again.

If you had already read one of my not many reviews, then you had for sure noticed that I follow a pretty well organized structure when it comes to reviewing books (author’s name and publication date, spoiler free summary, and then likes and dislikes analysis) Confess threw my organization out of the window-I live on the 5th floor, I don’t really think I’ll ever be able to get it back. It just made my feelings after reading it so not clear that they are not allowing my mind to think properly.

Either you read or did not read the novel; this time you can read my whole review, no spoilers at all. It is impossible to mention what I liked or disliked, there are no (what I call) unnecessary parts, or chapters that are more important than others. To put that right, let’s just think of puzzles; there are two types of them: those who you give up on when you put 2/3 of their pieces together because you already can see the result and it is not fun nor interesting to keep going, then there are those puzzles which you can see the beautiful result of, but your brain can’t process it till you put the last piece and stare at it for ten minutes. Confess is definitely the latter, Colleen Hoover has such an amazing style of mixing romance and mystery in one story. When I say mystery, it is not that kind that we all know:  there is something hidden and we keep collecting clues to find it, but when it comes to Hoover’s stories it goes as following: you are reading in peace, word after word, paragraph after paragraph, and then you jump from your bed just like a cat jumps when you run over its tail. Her plot twists are  so unpredictable and even if you think you figured it out, I can assure you that you did not. You just have to read it till you reach these two little words: the end.

Enough speaking of how one of my new favourite authors made me fall in love with her books, because those who did not read Confess deserve a short summary. It has all started with the protagonist Auburn who was about to lose her first love (Adam) because of cancer, and she was not even allowed to stay with him till his last day, because she was forced to say good bye a few days before Adam lost his life. The story begins and ends with the same scene but written from two different points of views; in other words, just like in movies:  where the same scene is shot from two different angles; when the camera turns, new details are discovered and the story is changed completely. Auburns’ first love story was short just like her lover’s life (he died at the age of sixteen) but we read most of Auburns “new” story while she is at the age of twenty-one, when she moves to Dallas and passes by a studio (where an employee was needed), so she takes the job because she is in need of money. Owen is a painter and the owner of the studio; his paintings are inspired by anonymous confessions that people drop by his studio’s door. If you think that because I mentioned confessions you figured out what is the title about, then I am really sorry to tell you that Colleen Hoover never makes it that simple, DEEP is all what she does. The present is related to the past, the past is never really past, since the future is always depending on it. Everything is connected in Confess. I know I sound crazy, but the story is just insane, if I really have to explain all my feelings, then you would better grab a big philosophy book and start trying to understand the theories, I bet you’ll turn into Aristotle before you could figure out what I want to say.

You cannot read Confess and know about other people’s confessions without thinking of what you would write if you were ever to pass by Owen’s studio. I know they are supposed to be anonymous, but that’s okay if you know about it: “Confess made me cry at the end.”  I know this does not sound like a big confession, but I promise you it is. I did not cry rivers though, I think they were around three or four tears from my right eye, but it is really big for a girl who laughs while watching Titanic. When Rose says: Jaaahk, Jaaahk, I be like: your Jaaahk is nothing different from the chicken that is in our freezer, he is FROZEN, just let him goooo, let him goooo, you can’t hold him baaahk anymooore. I know what you are thinking, I know… but I have a heart, I really do: I cried during UP, THE BLIND SIDE, FREEDOM WRITERS, and THE LAST SONG. Speaking of the latter, it has not been a long time since I knew that the book was written by Nicholas Spark; the same author who wrote The Notebook (I have never watched more than 15 minutes from its movie adaptation.)

PS: If you read and liked CONFESS, check out HOPELESS and maybe LOSING HOPE.

PSS: All the confessions are from real people, and they send them to Colleen Hoover so that she could use them in her story.