Pet Peeves of a Obsessed Reader

So when it comes to books, I realize that I have a lot of issues. Probably the biggest one is spending all my money on them, leaving me with a significant amount less for things I should be spending the money on- gas, food, bills….

Also, I’m running out of space. I literally have no more room and no where for these books to go other than in piles.

With my continual purchasing of books and lack thereof of for books, I literally have books that I bought 10-15 years ago that I STILL have not read! And I refuse to get rid of them because they still sound just as good as the day that I bought them.

Now granted, all these problems will “more than likely, go away” when I get my dream house that includes its own personal library (and sliding ladder). Space for days, and hopefully the means to actually sit down and read all the books waiting for me. As far as the first problem, I don’t think that’s going away unless I get professional help.

So, yes, I have issues when it comes to books. I admit that with a ver clear conscious. That being said, there are some unspeakable evils out there that as a book lover I cannot get over! Here is my personal list of pet peeves.

  1. Movie Covers on Books

Possibly my biggest pet peeve are the stupid movie covers that the publisher smack onto the book when they want to make more of a sale. I find this a complete slap in the face to the reader (not to mention the original cover designer who probably spent a lot of time trying to design a cover for the book that would capture the essence of the story). They literally take the whole movie poster and just paste it right on. Even the rating, and critics comments are usually somewhere on the cover.

Sorry to tell you, but we in the book world already understand that the movie and the book are going to be two completely different mediums. The producer and the directors are going to leave out parts due to budgeting and personal preference. The movie may be moving, but it’s never going to get to the depths of the heart of the original story. Not to mention, it’s usually the cheesiest thing you will ever see! Cough* cough* Nicholas Sparks cough* cough*.

When I look at movie covers for my books, I feel my intelligence start to decrease. Rather than catch my eye, provoking me to buy the book, I cringe, feel slightly ill, and move onto finding the actual cover. The one designed for THE BOOK. Which is of course the thing that I’m actually after. If I want an easy night in where my brain has to do very little work, because it has already been done for me, then I’ll give you producers a call. But most nights, I want to be completely immersed in a distant time or place and to have a person that, although is completely imaginary, feels more real to me than the chair I’m sitting on.

2. When there is a picture of the character on the cover of the text

Now, I don’t mind seeing a little bit of the character, like a side/back of the head profile, but when you give me the person’s face, and it doesn’t even match the description of the character in the book, then you and I are going to have some problems. I never put this on the author, because I know that the authors don’t get a lot of say when it comes to the covers of their novels (if they get any say at all). It’s all the publisher’s doing and it really kind of ticks me off.

U.S. publishers are already know for changing titles of books that are from other countries, because they honestly do not feel like the majority of the American public will “get it.” Case in point, the first Harry Potter book. But to put a full fledged image of a real person on the cover is like saying, “oh well we know that this person isn’t who the author had in mind at all when they spent all their time crafting their character, but we think it will suffice for the public, because they are probably incapable of thinking up a version of the character for themselves.”

Many authors I have met, have said how much they hate versions of books where there is an actual person on the cover. It is not what they would have chosen at all. But what can they do? The publisher has the rights of the book.

3. Not being able to find the addition/cover you want

Do you know how many times I have see on Instagram or Pinterest the most adorable covers of some of my favorite books? Plenty. Then when I go to search for said cover, that I know exists in this world, I am unable to get it for one reason or another. Usually the reason being is that it is the UK edition and for whatever reason, UK and US conditions cannot cross borders. No, if I want that precise edition, I will have to fly to England for the sole reason to get it. Now usually I would look for any reason to fly to Europe, but if I did that every time I wanted a specific edition I would literally run out of money.

Of course there is always the choice of trying independent used bookstores who sometimes get unique editions, but the price is usually crazy, or you’re not always positive what you are getting. I know that Amazon has a UK section, but I have found the prices to be crazy expensive, mostly due to shipping costs.

In a perfect world, all editions would be shared equally amongst nations, but we live in a world that is far from perfect.

3. Finding the book you have been looking for in the store, seeing that there is only one copy, and finding it to be creased, bent, marked, or some other kind of unforgivable damage done to it (this applies to Amazon as well when you order a book and it comes in less that absolute pristine condition).

Because when you are faced with this scenario you only have a few options. Suck it up and buy the book anyway, knowing that the whole time it’s going to bother you, and that you basically just bought damaged goods.

Or be that person who goes up to the sales associates and asks, knowing that the answer is probably no, if they might have another copy of the book somewhere else in the store. Then you feel as if you have to explain yourself and tell them why you can’t possibly buy the book because the giant crease is going to drive you insane and just hope that they don’t think you are a crazy weirdo who is taking this book thing a little too far (meaning you are basically the equivalent of a crazy cat lady).

4. When the books in a series are printed in paper back and 2/3 of the series in mass-market paper back and the other 1/3 is a completely different style, thus throwing off the flow of your bookshelf appeal

What is up with that? Why the heck would you print the first books in one style, and then go for a completely new style for the last book(s)? Don’t you know that series are made to be together? Why are you trying to screw up my bookshelves? Why? At least offer several options like other publishers do. Crazy bastards.

5. When horrible movies (or maybe movies just in general) are made of your absolutely favorite books.

Ok so a lot of this goes along with my first pet peeve, but it still had to be mentioned. Here’s a crazy idea for all you producers and directors out there. Stop taking the writing of other people, and just do your damn job and come up with your own story. You have script writers! Use them! And leave us bookworms alone!

6. When someone takes a treasured character and completely changes their appearance based on their own interpretation, and then it becomes mainstream, and then your whole personal childhood image of said character is ruined because know you can’t get the new character image out of your mind, and now you feel as if you have lost a dear friend because you can’t get your complete image back into your mind.

I will admit that this one doesn’t happen too much (other than with movies) but in recent years, some classic characters have been reimagined (usually by race or important facial features) and that reimagined character is then projected as the true image of the character.

Now I would have absolutely no problem with this, if indeed the character had been clearly described that way over 20 years ago, and I hadn’t spent my whole life building up a specific image of them in my mind that I have come to cherish as being my own.

Others would say that you can still keep your own image, and that they aren’t trying to impose anything on you, and trust me I try. But when you start to see that character everywhere as being made into this new image, it becomes harder and harder to hold onto the image you built so carefully all those years ago in your head, and then carried with you for years to come.

 

So there you have it. I might very well be a bit crazy when it comes to my books, but I would bet that there are more of you out there that feel the same way I do. Maybe we’re all crazy together, but that is because our love of the written word is so very strong. More  than likely, if you are anything like me, books have been an important part of your growing up. They have been friends through the good and the bad, and you find a certain kid of contentment when you are with them, that real life just can’t fulfill.

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The Storied Life of A.J.

 

Rating: 9/10

24111210Once I finished this book I wanted to write a review right away, but I had too much of the feels to get anything coherent out. Then I left the country for several days and had no internet connection. So here I am finally ready to review this amazing book!

Ok, so in the beginning I wasn’t really buying it. The narrative was strange and I really did not like A.J. Also, it was not upholding to my expectations. From the summary I expected A.J. to be sweet and a little older. I also completely thought the book was going to more of a mystery that would revolve around the missing book of Tamerlane that was stolen from him. I hardly paid attention to the part in the synopsis that mentioned the “mysterious package” that was left at his shop. And when I got to that part, the “package” was not anywhere close to what I was thinking it was going to be. Everything seemed to be rushed, I was wondering where the mystery was that I had been expecting, and I was wondering why the main character was so unlikable. Obviously my opinion changed.

Once I really got into the flow of the story, I fell in love with it! The characters were so much brighter and the style of writing turned out to be brilliant! The fast paced tone actually made a lot of sense for what the reader is supposed to be feeling and experiencing.

I’ve read several books that have to do with books or take place around/in a bookstore and all of them have disappointed me. This one gave me hope because one of my favorite authors (Eowyn Ivey ), as well as others, gave it such amazing reviews. I am so relieved to have ended up loving this book in the end! The only reason I’m not giving it a 10/10 rating is because of the beginning, and how long it took me to get into the story.

Overall, it is a beautiful novel that you will give you all the feelings and if you aren’t crying, or at least holding back tears by the end, then you are completely missing out.

Always remember, “We read to know we are not alone.”

Alone Together

Rating: 8/10 

I received a free 38216832ARC of this book as part of the book launch team. I am not being paid for my review.

One of the reasons I wanted to be apart of this book launch so badly was because of my position as a middle school English teacher. I am constantly looking for books that will speak to my students and get them to love reading. My whole curriculum is based around getting kids to choose their own books and to be constantly reading throughout the whole year. I know that the Sarah J. Donovan has a similar background as an educator and as a reader of young adult novels. She knows firsthand what many kids are struggling with today and how important reading is to their overall wellbeing and growth. So when she announced she had written her own book, I just knew that I had to read it.

Donovan does not disappoint. Her main character Sadie, as well as many of her other characters, are remarkably, and utterly real. Donovan writes with a very authentic tone that readers (young adults as well as adult readers) will be able to relate to. The fact that the book is written in verse only made the overall message all the more powerful and moving.

With Donovan’s style, it is as if the true emotions of the characters are felt more by the reader. The use of white space and the subtraction of numerous sentences of prose allows the reader to feel the emotions of the character. Rather than getting a play-by-play, you get to live in Sadie’s thoughts as her story unfolds.

I will say that when I reached the end, I wanted just a little bit more. Perhaps this is just due to the fact that I’m a greedy reader. Don’t get me wrong! I thought the ending was perfect (especially for Sadie), but there were just a few parts of the story, or certain relationships, that I felt like I just wanted more closure on.

What I loved most about this book is the title. You will know what I mean when you read it. At first, I just thought it was a pretty catchy title, but when I read through the text and experienced what Donovan meant by being “alone together” I wanted to cry. Her message is a powerful one that all of us should really try to experience at least one time in our lives. Not only is it important for young adolescents, but also for adults trying to find their way in life.

Donovan’s first book should be put on everybody’s list. I know I certainly can’t wait until she writes her next great novel!

P.S. The audiobook version of Alone Together is so amazing! Perhaps one of the best audiobooks I’ve ever listened to!

 

The Scorpio Races

Rating: 10/10 

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I feel that The Scorpio Races is a book well deserving of public praise. This book has a reserved strength about it that readers young and old can firmly latch onto. It is a story of consequence and of deep, unselfish love; the kind that can only come from hearts that truly understand one another.

With writing that flows like ocean waves ebbing away at a beach, sometimes gentle and soothing and at other times pulling fiercely at the reader’s attention, this is a book that will hardly go unnoticed.

As a lover of myths, legends, and magic, the appearance of the capaill uisce (also known as Kelpies in other legends) is what drew and held my attention throughout the story. Beautiful  and deadly,  the capaill uisce mirror the attraction that all humans have toward the unknown, and more importantly, the unattainable. There were times while reading that I pictured myself astride one of the magnificent water horses preparing to plunge into the ocean’s depths, just

to catch a glimpse of what lies beneath the dark surface.

I felt a great attachment to this book because of the relationships between the characters. As a reader of YA novels, I get tired of the constant mushy gushy romance in books. I’m referring to all the Bella’s and Edward’s out there. As a reader, I want to see a relationship every once and awhile that is based on communication and trust; not a love at first sight type deal. It takes time to build a relationship and to completely trust your partner. Stiefvater did an incredible job building up the  real-life bonds between her characters.

The relationships between Sean and Corr, Puck and Dove, and eventually Sean and Puck is based on unbiased trust. The pure feelings with nothing left in the middle to muddle it up was something that I had not experienced in a long time.

I also admired the characters for their strengths and willingness to defend what was truly important to them. Both Sean and Puck are characters that are so self-aware and untroubled by society’s distinctive peer pressure.  They remain flawed and so imperfect, and yet they are comfortable with who they are. They feel no need to change themselves or one another. Many people lose focus of that, especially in today’s world.

If I could, I would make all my friends read this because it is a story that I think almost everyone could take something away from. If you are anything like me, you will be left at the last page unwilling to say goodbye, trying to prolong your departure as long as possible.


The Red Pencil

Rating: 8/10

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Despite all the madness that has been happening in the Middle East and Africa in my lifetime, I don’t pretend to know much about the culture of those who come from these chaotic areas. Thus when I caught sight of The Red Pencil in Barnes & Nobles I was instantly drawn to the premise.

This story is about Amira who is a twelve year old girl living in Darfur. Her greatest wish is to learn to read and write, however she lives in a society that believes that women should only dream about becoming wives and mothers. Events take a heart wrenching turn when Amira’s village is attacked by the Janjaweed and they are forced to leave everything behind. However, it is Amira’s dream that gives her the strength to move beyond the tragedy and hope for a better tomorrow.

This book is written beautifully in prose form and includes unique illustrations. I really enjoyed reading this book and it went by quick. Pinkney’s tale is one of humanity that gives a face and a name to the hundreds of men, women, and children who have been displaced from their homes and forced to become refugees . I am really excited to add this book to my classroom library with the hope that it will help my students open their eyes to the world around them.

 

The Red Queen

Rating: 7/10 

Here’s another book that my students ended up picking out for me. The Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard was the number one choice that my after school book club picked out. When I went to pick up the copies for my kids, I noticed that this book was high up there in the YA literature world. It was singled out in almost every book store I went to as a number one pick for teens, and articles online are already starting to call it the next Hunger Games. After reading it, I wasn’t b4bd9bf0bdefccc0873b1e4e900bffb32.jpglown away by it like I was when I read the Hunger Games, but I will admit that it was really good.

It is very reminiscent of Collins’ books (the setting takes place in the future, the weaker members of society are being oppressed by the more powerful members, a strong heroine  is chosen by fate to represent the change for her oppressed people), but it definitely has its own thing going on. Where as HG was purely science fiction with a huge emphasis on the dystopian genre, The Red Queen has a significant fantasy element mixed in with the futuristic dystopian feel. So much so that sometimes you forget that it’s supposed to be a futuristic society because of all the fantasy elements that are being used throughout the novel. You might not think that would work, but strangely it does!

I will admit that at first Mare (our main character) rubbed me the wrong way. I felt like she was written a little too angry. I felt like I was being force-fed her hatred. Over time, her personality seemed to mellow out to a degree and I ended up liking her. She starts off so tough that you think that she is going to one of those girls who won’t ever admit that they were wrong purely out of pride. That changes when you see her using her head to make the best out of a bad situation, especially when she knows she’s been beat. While I don’t think it’s good enough to earn a 10/10, the story had me hooked and the intrigue of the world that Aveyard created was fascinating.