Reading

Dark Age – Pierce Brown | A Book Review

Dark Age - Pierce Brown

Title: Dark Age

Author: Pierce Brown

Genre: Science Fiction

About the book: It’s the fifth book in the Red Rising series that follows multiple characters in Darrow, Lysander, Virginia, Lyria, and Ephraim. Brown explores power, violence, love, as well as hope.

First impressions: I enjoyed reading the previous books, so I was excited to read this novel. It took some time for me to get back into the story because I didn’t remember everything that happened in Iron Gold.

Characters: There are so many characters that at first I found it hard to keep track of who was who. I’m glad there’s a character list at the beginning. I gravitated towards the storylines of Lysander and Lyria. They aren’t perfect, yet I still wanted to cheer them on.

Quote:

“But we are entitled only to the moment, and owe nothing to the future except that we follow our convictions.”

Writing: The novel is almost 800 pages, so it’s longer than the other books. Brown spends a good amount of time building the world and describing things in detail. The chapters alternate point of view with each being told in the first person.

Final thoughts: Overall, I preferred the ending over the beginning. I would recommend reading the entire series in order before delving into Dark Age. This science fiction story isn’t for everyone, as it’s a mature read with violent and graphic scenes.


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Reading

Iron Gold – Pierce Brown | A Book Review

Iron Gold - Pierce Brown

Title: Iron Gold

Author: Pierce Brown

Genre: Science Fiction

About the book: The fourth novel in the Red Rising series set ten years later.

First impressions: I’ve been eagerly awaiting this novel so much that I preordered it. Took me a while to get into the world again. To be honest, I forget a lot, so I had to jog my memory. At first, I wasn’t sure how to feel about having multiple viewpoints. But I came to love the different narratives.

Characters: Brown tells this story through the perspective of four characters: Darrow, Lysander, Ephraim, and Lyria. They’re great in their own ways, but I especially enjoyed Lysander’s point of view.

Because of the various narrations, there’s still development but not as in-depth as in Red Rising, when the author told everything from Darrow’s eyes.

The narratives mesh together even though they’re all are so different from one another.

Quote:

“The key to learning, to power, to having the final say in everything, is observation.”

Writing: I like Brown as a storyteller. He builds upon the world with each book. At times, I felt a little overwhelmed at the sheer amount of information presented. Kudos to him for doing his research though. There’s a ton of everything. Action, dialogue, description. The plot is complex but advances at a nice pace.

Final thoughts: Iron Gold seems to set up the next novel and possibly the whole series in general. Still, I’d recommend reading the first three books before this one. The novel felt strange yet familiar at the same time.


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Reading

Plan Your Perfect Author Panel

Not long ago, I watched an author panel about genre blending. It got me thinking how awesome it’d be if I could gather all my favourite authors in the same room and listen to them talk about writing.

Here’s how I imagine my perfect panel:

Who would be there?

Pierce Brown, Stephen King, Sarah J. Maas, and Jodi Picoult. They’re my favourite storytellers as of right now.

Why these authors in particular?

In general, I love all of their work.

I enjoyed Brown’s Red Rising series, even though it shattered my already broken heart. So now I’m eagerly awaiting Iron Gold. In fact, IG is the first book I ever preordered. Also, Brown was in the genre blending panel, and his comments were spot on. The video is on YouTube for anyone interested.

King is king. I’ve said it before. I’ll say it again. This won’t be the last time, my friends. For some reason, I have this irrational fear I won’t like one of his novels. He still continues to surpass any and all expectations of mine. Carrie has a special place in my heart. The film adaption was not as good as the book but it wasn’t bad either.

I didn’t think I would like Throne of Glass by Maas as much as I did. The hype surrounding the books almost made me pass on it. I’m glad I didn’t.

Fortunately, I found and fell in love with House Rules. Then I proceeded to read all the Picoult novels I could get my hands on. Nineteen Minutes and The Pact stand out in my memory still to this day.

What will the panel be about?

To start, I’d want them to talk about their writing journey.

I even have questions prepared. When did you start writing? What made you become a writer? Why do you write? What’s a typical day in your life like? Where do you work? How do you write? What’s the easiest thing about your job? What is the hardest?

I’m a curious writer myself, so I like listening to other writers share their life stories.

Of course, if I could only ask one question, I’d have them answer this: what’s one piece of advice you’d give to aspiring writers?

Where would the panel take place? 

I wish more book events and conferences were held in the wonderful country of Canada. As much as I love the United States and hope to visit the United Kingdom one day, I can’t book a plane ticket without losing an arm or a leg. Probably both.

So, for obvious reasons, I’d want the panel to be held at a location near me. That way I could actually attend and keep all my limbs. In my dreams, I want to go to a Canadian book conference. Preferably downtown Toronto in a large building with awesome views of the skyline. Bonus points if it’s close to a hotel for those flying in from other countries with their two arms and legs.

When would the panel take place?

A weekend in the summer would be ideal. Or during autumn when the temperature is cool but not chilly. Then again, the panel will be inside an air conditioned room. But I’m all for having fun events take place outdoors. Beggars can’t be choosers, but planners can be picky, right?

Who should moderate?

I’m not sure. Perhaps another writer. Maybe an agent or an editor. I don’t have anyone specific in mind.

I want to hear all about your dream author panel. Let me know in a comment down below or create your own blog post and get carried away like me. I won’t judge.

Thanks to Eventbrite for inspiring this post. They are a self-service ticketing platform that helps people find and plan events like book conferences or author panels.

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Reading

Completing The 30 Books Challenge

1. A book you love:

Morning Star by Pierce Brown

I love this book with all my heart. And I’m trying to make other people love it too.

2. A book you can’t forget:

Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

My grade five teacher recommended it to me. Bless her for doing so.

3. A book that motivated you:

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King

King makes me want to be a better writer.

4. A book that made you think about life:

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

It’s thought-provoking.

5. A book with a colour in its title:

Red Rising by Pierce Brown

I adore Brown and his brain.

6. A book with a number in its title:

Zone One by Colson Whitehead

I had to read it for school, but I liked the modernized zombie tale.

7. A book everyone needs to read:

Animal Farm by George Orwell

Timeless classic. What more can I say?

8. A book that was recommended to you:

All the Rage by Courtney Summers

A good friend of mine made me pick this one up.

9. A book you didn’t expect to like as much as you did:

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Because of the hype surrounding Maas and her work, I thought I wasn’t going to like her novels. But I enjoyed ToG so very much.

10. A book that made you cry:

Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas

It didn’t directly make me cry, but I was holding the book while I cried. Does that count?

11. A book that reminds you of your childhood:

The Giver by Lois Lowry

I was a naïve child.

12. A book you have reread or would reread:

Thirst No. 4 by Christopher Pike

I reread the fourth book prior to reading the fifth in order to jog my memory. The second read through was just as good, if not even better than the first.

13. A book that was turned into a movie:

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

I read the book before I watched the movie. If you know me at all, you know I’m firmly in the camp that the book was obviously better.

14. A book you wish was turned into a movie or TV show:

The Escape by David Baldacci

This needs to be made into a movie.

15. A book you couldn’t put down:

Endgame: The Calling by James Frey

Action-packed fun.

16. A book that kept you up at night:

The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult

I remember finishing the novel late at night and being blown away by the ending.

17. A book you travelled with:

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz

I carried the novel in my bag with a water bottle I didn’t close properly. Safe to say water and paper don’t mix unless you’re painting with watercolours.

18. A book you wanted to toss across the room:

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

Because of how it ends.

19. A book you received as a gift:

If I Stay by Gayle Forman

From my one and only older brother. Thanks.

20. A book you gave or would give as a gift:

The Elements of Style by E. B. White and William Strunk Jr.

I would give it as a gift, especially to someone who likes writing.

21. A book you think is underrated:

Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris

I don’t see or hear many people talk about Norris and her books.

22. A book that lived up to its hype:

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

I didn’t think it would, but it did.

23. A book that broke your heart:

House Rules by Jodi Picoult

It was my first Picoult novel. I’m happy to say it was not the last. I really felt for the characters in this one.

24. A book that restored your faith in humanity:

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Young, awesome characters tend to restore my faith.

25. A book with a pretty cover:

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

It’s my aesthetic.

26. A book that reminds you of summer:

Atonement by Ian McEwan

The novel takes place in the summer.

27. A book that brings back good memories:

A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry

Technically it’s a play I performed with some of my best friends in high school.

28. A book that makes you happy:

Nevermore by James Patterson

I enjoyed the entire series.

29. A book you will never get tired of talking about:

Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult

I could go on and on about this gem.

30. A book you wish you wrote:

Carrie by Stephen King

If I had to be honest, I wish I wrote every novel King wrote. Carrie is no exception.


This post contains many affiliate links to Amazon. If you buy through them, I earn a commission at no extra cost to you.

Reading

Authors I Want To Meet

I want to meet almost every author but the ones below especially.

Pierce Brown

I would love to pick his brain over lunch or brunch. But I’ll settle for reading his books.

Jodi Picoult

Love her characters. Love her stories. She never ceases to amaze me. I don’t think I’ve ever correctly predicted the endings to any of her books.

Stephen King

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: King is King. He always will be.

Who do you want to meet?

Reading

Books Of The Month | December 2016

November Herminia thought she would read a lot in December. And now December Herminia thinks she’ll read a lot in January. She doesn’t learn. She probably won’t in 2017 either, so don’t expect much from her.

As you can see, I still haven’t gotten over the talking in third person about myself phase.


What I Finished:

Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe

robinson-crusoe-by-daniel-defoe
One phrase description:

Description without chapter division.

Quote:

“It is never too late to be wise.”

My general thoughts:

The main issue I had was the non-existent chapters and chapter breaks. It was one long block of text after another. I’m not sure if that helped or hindered my ability to read RC quickly. I read a few pages, put it down, did something else, picked it up again, and repeated that process a billion times. I like books that let me know when I should probably return to the real world. It’s weird having more decision over when to take a break from reading.

Also, I was supposed to read this novel in September back when school started. But I didn’t get the book delivered to me on time, so I skipped RC and returned to it in December. I read more rushed than I would’ve liked because I wanted to finish the novel before my English exam. I managed to finish the book and maybe even fail the exam. I don’t know because I can’t bring myself to check what I think are horrible grades.


Morning Star by Pierce Brown

morning-star-by-pierce-brown

One phrase description:

Shatters your heart and returns it to you on a platter.

Quote:

“Life’s not just a matter of breathing, it’s a matter of being.”

My general thoughts:

There was a lot more world-building than I expected in MS. I can see why that build-up might feel slow to some, but I found it worthwhile. The different twists and turns and deaths make for a fun read, even if I saw some of them coming. Like the ending.

I’m trying to get my friend to read the series. She hasn’t. I don’t know how we’re still friends. But I can’t wait for whatever else Pierce Brown is cooking up.


City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare

city-of-lost-souls-by-cassandra-clare

One phrase description:

Kissing and kissing and more kissing.

Quote:

“In difficult times, in dark times, some people shine.”

My general thoughts:

Of all the books in the series so far, I think I enjoyed this one the least. It read more like a romantic novel than anything else to me. I didn’t like the kissing and more than kissing scenes. Especially since just about everyone loves someone else, when one romantic scene ended, another began with a different couple.

I’m not sure why I went out a long time ago and bought all the books in the series at once. So I have the last one sitting on the shelf, staring at me. I think I need a break from Clare’s writing. I need a break from the protagonist, Clary. I need a break from everything really.


What I’m Currently Reading:

The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

the-brothers-karamazov-by-fyodor-dostoyevsky

First impressions:

It’s long. So very long. Nearly 800 pages long. Yes, I have to read TBK for school. No, I don’t hate it…yet. I hope I don’t by the end. Keeping track of all the Russian names hasn’t been that bad. Then again, I think I haven’t met half the characters.


What I Want To Read Next Month:

Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas

heir-of-fire-by-sarah-j-maas

Why: 

I liked Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight, the first two novels in the series. Hopefully I’m not disappointed. Though I tend to find a third book in any series is either hit or miss.


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New year, new books. Am I right or am I right?

Reading

Books Of The Month | November 2016

Oh November, why are you always so busy? How I managed to finish a book—much less four—this month is beyond me.


What I Finished:

To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf

to-the-lighthouse-by-virginia-woolf

One phrase description:

Thoughts.

Quote:

“Why, one asked oneself, does one take all these pains for the human race to go on?”

My general thoughts:

It’s not my kind of book. I’ve come to the very unfortunate conclusion that I don’t love modernism. There really isn’t much of a plot. And I understand the novel is written the way it is for a reason. I appreciate the writing. I appreciate the language. I’m a writer. But I also adore stories. The words are beautifully put together. I just wished Woolf injected about 10 mL of narrative into her work. I had a tough time getting through it because I had no story to follow. Also reading To The Lighthouse on the subway is not ideal. Then again life isn’t. To be honest, if the novel wasn’t a required reading for my English class, I probably would have put it down twenty pages in and never picked it back up.


Golden Son by Pierce Brown

golden-son-by-pierce-brown

One phrase description:

Feelings.

Quote:

“There is no greater plague to an introvert than the extroverted.”

My general thoughts:

I think my heart was dead prior to reading Golden Son, but Pierce Brown found a way to awaken that organ. And now it’s beating again. I didn’t know I had feelings. I didn’t realize I felt so strongly for certain characters. But I know now. I realized along the way. This book had an actual story. A bloody good one. I enjoyed most of the scenes. At times the novel reminded me of Ender’s Game, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Although a lot of sci-fi elements go right over my head because science is confusing. I’m a confused child. Anyhow, GS provided a great escape from the cruel world that is university. If I had friends, I’d rope them into reading the series.


City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare

city-of-fallen-angels-by-cassandra-clare

One phrase description:

Angels.

Quote:

“And I think even when you heal, you’re never what you were before.”

My general thoughts:

I keep holding out hope that the next book will get better. I will keep hoping until I can’t. The writing in City of Fallen Angels didn’t bother me nearly as much as the writing in City of Glass did. Maybe I went in with lower expectations. Who am I kidding? The book isn’t a literary masterpiece. That’s besides the point. At this point, I’m invested enough in the story to want to know what happens, how it ends. I don’t love the characters. Some days I can tolerate them. Other days I roll my eyes at their actions and shake my head at their inaction. But I care enough to finish the series, especially since I’m this far in.


Zone One by Colson Whitehead

zone-one-by-colson-whitehead

One phrase description: 

Zombies.

Quote:

“In his mind, the business of existence was about minimizing consequences.”

My general thoughts:

Had to read this for school. I finished it today, and I think I’m still trying to process the ending. I don’t know how I feel about the last line in particular. Whitehead makes you think. He made me reflect on the world I live in so many times I’ve lost count. I make it sound like I kept count. I didn’t. It’s a zombie book. It’s a post apocalyptic novel. But at the same time it isn’t. Does that make sense? This isn’t your typical zombie book. Read at your own peril.


What I Want To Read Next Month:

Morning Star by Pierce Brown

morning-star-by-pierce-brown

Why: 

Because I love the series so much. And I want to feel feelings, so I know I’m a human being and not just a zombie in a human body.


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Reading

Books Of The Month | October 2016

It’s the end of October already? I’m not ready for November, where I’ll be attempting to write more, which means I’ll likely read less.


What I Finished:

Red Rising by Pierce BrownRed Rising by Pierce Brown

One phrase description: 

Love.

Quote:

“Life is the most effective school ever created.”

My general thoughts:

I didn’t love it at first. But by the end, I did. I may have purchased the next two books already, which is a testament to how much I enjoyed the one pictured above. For the longest time, I saw pictures of it everywhere, and I was tired of seeing something I didn’t have.


Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
northanger-abbey-by-jane-austen

One phrase description: 

Like.

Quote:

“All has been, or at least all have believed themselves to be, in danger from the pursuit of some one whom they wished to avoid; and all have been anxious for the attentions of some one whom they wished to please.”

My general thoughts:

I don’t love or hate it. I’m fond of the characters despite their flaws or maybe in spite of them. Interestingly enough, I enjoyed the middle chapters more than I did the beginning or ending. It took some time to get used to Austen’s writing early on. Also, the end didn’t satisfy me. I feel the need to mention I read this for school rather than pleasure. Funny, I told a friend I probably wouldn’t read Austen on my own for fun.


Atonement by Ian McEwan

atonement-by-ian-mcewan

One phrase description: 

Like led to love.

Quote:

“It wasn’t only the wickedness and scheming that made people unhappy, it was confusion and misunderstanding.”

My general thoughts:

I fell more and more in love. The story started a bit slow, but picked up nicely. A part of me wants to watch a movie adaptation. If you know me at all, you know I don’t watch many movies. Similar to Northanger Abbey, I read McEwan for my English class. Still I’m going to gush about it to anyone who cares to listen to me, meaning no one.


City of Glass by Cassandra Clare

city-of-glass-by-cassandra-clare

One phrase description: 

Love and hate.

Quote:

“And no place that you are never allowed to leave can be a home.”

My general thoughts:

I liked some things, disliked others. The writing irks me at times. For some reason, I’m not really fond of characters calling other characters by name multiple times in a conversation. I don’t think it’s realistic. But the story arc works for me. If I didn’t buy all six books at once though, I’m not sure if I would have read beyond the first novel. So what does that say about me or the series as a whole (in my opinion)? I don’t know. I’ll let you form your own conclusion.


What I’m Currently Reading:

To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf

to-the-lighthouse-by-virginia-woolf

First impressions:

It’s short, but I’m not the biggest fan so far, but let’s see if Woolf can win me over in the next couple hundred pages. It hasn’t happened yet. I just wish the story would unfold quicker because I’m impatient.


What I Want To Read Next Month:

City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare

city-of-fallen-angels-by-cassandra-clare

Why: 

Because I want to finish the series and move on with my life. I mean that in the best way possible.


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