25 Aug 2016

Epic Reads Decathlon Wrap Up!


I have had an emotional past ten days. For some (insane, crazy, idiotic) reason, I decided it'd be a good ideas to tackle my massive TBR and participate in the Epic Reads decathlon and chose to 'Read for Gold', which meant I was attempting ten books in ten days. I scoured my shelves for books under 300 pages or books with a different style of layout and finally settled upon a TBR that I was happy with, then I got going.

Why was this so emotional? Cramming ten worlds of friendships, families, epic tragedies, and more into ten days almost killed me. Every day my fiancé received calls from me, absolutely blubbering about something that had happened in at least eight of the ten books. All I'm saying is, don't take readathons lightly. Not only do they drain you physically (I'm still trying to fix my back from sitting in a curled position for so many days) but also mentally.

I've attempted many readathons in the past and I've always failed, I tend to give up after a couple of days when I lose interest in a particular novel or get distracted by Gilmore Girls (come on, we've all been there). This time, however, I was helped along by my handy-dandy bullet journal. Those things work, people! When I wrote down that I wanted to finish a particular book in the journal, I did it, for fear of leaving a box un-coloured in.

I plan to write full reviews for a few of these books, but I want to share my immediate response to them with you all and let you know what I thought of them! Books I'll be writing a full review of will have an asterisk (*) after their title.

In order of reading:

The Lovely Reckless by Kami Garcia*

The first book I read was The Lovely Reckless by Kami Garcia (ARC) and I really enjoyed it! It was actually the book that got me out of a really bad reading slump. I can't say that it was the kind of book that I would have chosen for myself, which was why I was so surprised that I loved it as much as I did, but I'll definitely be recommending it to people who like a bit of a different YA contemporary. I have some exciting things planned for closer to the release date of this book, so be on the look out!

Four: A Divergent Collection by Veronica Roth 

I originally read the Divergent trilogy at Christmas about two years ago (it was actually just as I started working on Bookstagram, awwww) I loved the trilogy and ordered the box set last year which included this book, Four. Four is told from Four (Tobias Eaton)'s perspective, and gives readers a clearer idea of this character, along with behind the scenes of what was going on with him, what he knew and what he didn't, and how he got to his position.

I sort of enjoyed this book, I liked finding out how Four chose Dauntless over Abnegation, learning more about his relationship with his father, etc... But the whole thing was kind of boring. The thing about novellas is they have to give the information that the original main character couldn't tell us, but that we're dying to know, and these stories didn't really do it for me. Plus, the final 40 pages were scenes that Tris was in but from Four's POV and I just ended the book there, it was information I already had and had no interest in reading again. Really disappointed!

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff 

How.... HOW?! I've owned this book since its release last year and it took me this long to pick it up?! I am a villain! This book had literally everything I could ever want! An interesting story telling method, hilarious authors, inside jokes, realistic teens, crazy evil characters and even more evil, zombies (well, not zombies, but I'm going to say close enough).

This book made me laugh, cry, and scream... When I was at a particularly scary part, someone in the kitchen dropped something on the floor and I yelped. I cannot wait till the release of Gemina so that I can continue with this amazing world! I don't want to say anything else about this book, you just need to read it... like, now.

The Sidekicks by Will Kostakis*

I plan on writing an in-depth review of this book because I loved it, SO MUCH! There's this super cute story of how I even received the book, along with the fact that if I could give this book 20/5 stars... I would. Something about this book hit me so hard and I will never let it out of my sight. If you haven't added this to your TBR, do so now... Or wait for my review to see why it reduced me to a sobbing mess (with no spoilers, of course).

Sing by Vivi Greene* 

This book was sent to me by Harper Collins NZ for review, so there will be a longer post about it soon, all I'm going to say is that this book made me really happy. It had a simple plot, with some nice characters, and it would make the best watch-when-you're-feeling-down-with-a-tub-of-ben-and-jerry's-ice-cream film, ever. It kind of reminded me of the classic Miley Cyrus films (like The Last Song) and there was something comforting about that.

No, it won't be something that I recommend to everyone, it's not my favourite book of all time, and there were a couple of things I didn't enjoy about it at all, but when I put it down I had a huge smile on my face and that's important, right?

Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman

Recently I purchased a box set of Neil Gaiman's 'Coraline', 'The Graveyard Book', and 'Fortunately, the Milk' -- mostly because I loved the Coraline edition that was in there, and it was also on sale. Around Day 7 of the readathon I had a total panic that I was never going to complete the last 5 books I needed to in order to finish the decathlon, I searched my shelves for a nice, entertaining, and short read and grabbed this one.

Yes, it's a children's book. Yes, the plot has been done 50,000 times before. Yes, it's very silly. But you know what? It's been added to a list of books I have that's titled 'Books I Have to Read to My Kids.' It honestly made me chuckle, and I could see why the book was such a hit (it's won a few awards). It's just very cute, and illustrated beautifully.

Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

This book and I got off to an incredibly shaky start, and had it not been for the readathon, I would have marked this book DNF (Did Not Finish, for those of you unsure). The book was almost 400 pages long and I felt as though in the first 200 pages... nothing happened? But it's one of those weird moments when you look back and realise that, wait, a lot did happen, but it just feels as though nothing happened. The only reason I didn't put it down was because I wasn't going to waste 200 pages of reading, I didn't have time to...

... And then. BOOM!!!!!!!! The plot came and hit me in the face and made me want to rush through the last 170 pages. I did guess a bit of it, but some things were still a surprise. So much was going on that I was scrambling to keep up and I LOVED it! Suddenly, I was in love with all the characters, I wanted to know more, I wanted every piece of background information that I could get, and then it was over (so excited for the second book!!!).

Hamilton's writing style really kept me going as well, the book was full of wonderful metaphors (how someone views the world, or describes the world like that, wow!) -- I can't wait to read more of her writing.

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Okay, so, this book wasn't on my initial decathlon TBR... I chose it because I already owned the eBook and it was 152 pages long. That being said, it's been on my general TBR since FOREVER! It's one of those book that people scream "You've not read this?!?!??! Get to it, right now!!!" when they find out it wasn't exactly at the top of your list.

I really didn't enjoy this book, I liked the writing style (which is why the book got three stars, it was beautiful writing), but the world really freaked me out and I'm sure that that's the point and everything, but I put it down every ten pages... It was just extremely intimidating and I felt relief when I'd finished it. I'm happy that I finished it, since everyone in the world has read it, but I won't be buying myself a fancy copy any time soon.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Thorne

Like every other Potterhead in the world, I raced out on July 31st to grab a copy of this beautiful book and when I finally started reading it, I finished it in one sitting. I'm going to write this extremely obscurely because I don't want to risk spoilers.

I didn't think that this book would have so much of an effect on me. Yeah, it's Harry Potter and I've only read the original 7 books 28 times (literally... I don't know if that's shameful or not at this point) but within the first 10 pages I was crying and screeching, this was one of the times that I rang Josh in a state because I needed someone to make me feel okay... He laughed at me... It's cool, it's cool.

However, I knocked off half a star (THE AUDACITY) because I felt it lacking in important characters and it kind of made the female characters... stereotypically female. To think that anyone would approve certain lines to come from certain characters mouths actually made me so flippin' mad. I feel as though I want to write a debate on it, but part of me is like 'Queen approved this, so it must be canon', do I have to let it be canon, though? Do I dare question my Queen?

Overall, I did enjoy the idea behind this book and most of the execution, I would kill to see it on stage, but I did feel like the plot was kind of a 'We need a new HP idea to make a play, quick someone think of something really fast but don't think about it too much' kind of thing.

However, I did feel magical, and I was extremely happy to have my wonderful hot-headed Harry Potter back, who makes all the wrong choices and that's okay.

The Fangirl's Guide to the Galaxy: A Handbook for Girl Geeks by Sam Maggs

A few weeks ago Quirk Books offered to send me a copy of Sam Maggs' new book and they threw in this one as well, I'd heard so much about it that I wanted to read it immediately, so I did.

This book is a non-fiction handbook for Fangirls everywhere and it's fantastic. The writing style is excellent, the illustrations are fab, the dictionaries, and advice that's given are all just amazing. It's one of the only non-fiction books that I've actually laughed out loud at. I did know quite a bit of information within the book already, but was thrilled to learn about things I've never even heard of before (like a Barcade?! Which is apparently a bar, and an old coin arcade in one place, so cool!) and also lists of where you can track down conventions, discussion starters with fangirls from different fandoms, and interviews with some of my favourite authors/creators/etc!

If you haven't read this book, even if you don't think you'll learn much from it, please pick it up anyway! There's a whole section of movies, comics, TV-show, etc with badass lead female characters that aren't just there for plot development and I'll be watching/reading everything suggested.


That's it for my wrap-up! I'm really excited that I managed to read all the books that I did, but I definitely won't be doing this again any time soon. I'm sorry if any of my opinions don't match your own, I'm all about a healthy (and friendly) debate in the comments if you'd like to discuss anything! If you haven't read any of these books, do you think you'll pick any of them up soon? I love to hear from you guys!
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  1. Thanks for the review, I had 3 books you rated on my list to read. [Hopefully will get to read soon.] Added another...Rebel of the Sands.

  2. Thanks for the review, I had 3 books you rated on my list to read. [Hopefully will get to read soon.] Added another...Rebel of the Sands.