[BOUT OF BOOKS 14] Challenge 3: MASH

“The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, August 17th and runs through Sunday, August 23rd in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 14 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team”

I LOVE THIS CHALLENGE! A total throwback, Day 3 brings a classic game of MASH.

I themed my game on the typical dystopian story, using options from various scifi, fantasy and YA novels. I took a few liberties with the meanings of MASH too, forgive me. My categories were:

DYSTOPIAN CITY – The place I will spend my youth, until my awakening as the only one with the power to change the world

MAGIC – Which lovingly crafted magical system I’ll discover and use to break free from the chains of oppression

LOVE INTEREST – Which handsome rebel is going to steal my heart and distract me from liberating my people

PET – The loyal companion that will accompany me on my quest and probably die at the end trying to save me (still not over Hedwig, Jo)

I drew a swirl with six gaps and off I went to find my destiny!

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So, in my very own dystopian story it looks like I’m taking down the patriarchy with Darrow, a bumblebee and some sweet sweet allomancy from the comfort of a magical forest. Yes. Actually does someone want to write that up for me? It sounds like something I’d very much like to read!

Charlotte x

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[FUN STUFF] Things literature has taught me about love

Inspired by Valentine’s Day and the uncountable displays of public affection hitting social media all over the world, here’s a little list I put together of things I’ve learnt about love from my reading adventures.

Image(Clary and Simon – The Mortal Instruments Series) 

1. Your best friend is absolutely, 100%, secretly head-over-heels in love with you and has been since the day he first laid eyes on you. How you remain persistently oblivious to this is kind of baffling, I mean have you seen the way he looks at you?! You totally lead him on too. You’re mean.

Image(Cole and Nikki – Everneath Series)

2. You will ignore your best friend’s frustratingly obvious affections and become obsessed with a seemingly unattainable rebel and/or supernatural being instead. Not cool.

Image(Bella and Jacob – Twilight Saga)

3. When the rebel and/or supernatural being inevitably breaks your heart, your best friend will wipe your tears and pick up all the broken pieces for you. He might even refrain from saying ‘I told you so’ (even though he so desperately wants to).

Image(Ron and Hermione – Harry Potter Series)

4. Your best friend will probably turn out to be the perfect guy after all. I told you so.

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(Tris and Four – Divergent Trilogy)

5. If you’re a strong, independent woman who don’t need no man, it turns out you probably need a man. Because romance, right?

Image(Karou and Akiva – Daughter of Smoke and Bone Trilogy)

6. Opposites attract. Yeah, things might get a bit rocky when you realise he’s slaughtered hundreds of your people, but true love conquers all, right?

Image(Hazel and Gus – The Fault in Our Stars)

7. No matter how you might see yourself, someone somewhere loves every single inch of you. Whether you like it or not (hopefully not in a creepy way).

Image(Cersei and Jaime – A Song of Ice and Fire Series)

8. Forbidden love is forbidden for a reason. No more Joffreys, please lord no more Joffreys.

Image(Ethan and Lena – The Caster Chronicles)

9. It might not be easy, but it will be worth it.

Image(Pat and Tiffany – The Silver Linings Playbook)

10. Never give up. There is someone out there who will understand your particular brand of crazy and love you for it, not in spite of it.

I feel far too mushy and sentimental now, ew gross. Do you have any favourite literary couples? I want to hear what books have taught you about love, life… anything!

[TOP TEN TUESDAY] Worlds I wouldn’t want to live in

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This week’s TTT, hosted by the wonderful The Broke and The Bookish, is one that definitely appealed to me! I read a lot of dystopian and apocalypse fiction so the answers came to mind pretty easily for me, so I decided to mix it up and make my post a little different. I’ve included the top six worlds I definitely would not like to live in, and the top four that I would!

Worlds I Would Hate to Live in:

1. The Hunger Games Trilogy (Panem)
Does this one really need an explanation? Not only are the citizens working to death and still starving, but they’re also being forced by an oppressive government to send their children into an arena to murder each other. Umm… I’ll pass, thanks.

2. Slated Trilogy
Kyla lives in a world where children can be taken away and have their memories ‘slated’ overnight. Accused of terrorism, they’re given a second chance under close observation with a new family, a new personality and a new mind. Sounds scary enough without even factoring in all the shady business, suspicion and lies the people responsible for slating are involved with. Nope, no thank you!

3. Penryn and the End of Days
I have no burning desire to witness the end of days, with angels of the apocalypse being sent down from Heaven to destroy everyone and everything in their path. Not my idea of a good day.

4. Blood of Eden (The Fringe)
If I were a vampire, this would definitely make it onto my list of worlds I would like to live in. Life seems pretty grand as a vampire. Sadly, being the feeble human I am, I can’t say a life of extreme poverty quaking under the constant shadow of a hoarde of predators really does it for me.

5. Mindjack Trilogy 
Living in a world filled with the constant noise of other peoples’ thoughts would drive me insane. I wouldn’t be able to deal with knowing everything someone was thinking, and knowing that they could hear exactly what I was thinking too! The privacy of your own mind is a blessing I don’t think many people would like to sacrifice.

6. Mistborn Series (Scadrial) 
This has a lot to do with the extreme poverty and dictatorship again, as found in more than a few fantasy novels. While having the powers of Allomancy would definitely be a plus, I don’t think I’d be happy to trade off for a life of scavenging and oppression.

Worlds I Would Love to Live in:

1. Harry Potter Series
I don’t believe that anyone in my generation who grew up with Harry Potter hasn’t felt the bitter pinch of disappointment when birthday after birthday their letter didn’t arrive from Hogwarts. The Harry Potter universe is a wonderful, magical place hidden within the everyday, urban, boring world of Muggles. Yeah, Voldemort might be trying to destroy everything and kill everyone in his path, but you get to be a wizard! With magic!

2. Draykon (Seven Realms)
Draykon’s world is absolutely gorgeous, filled with mysterious plants and creatures and its own unique pattern of night and day. The whole world is magical and I would just love to dive in and experience it first hand.

3. Wheel of Time 
This world is so expansive with a history so rich that it already feels like it could really exist in some kind of alternate reality. I love High Fantasy and the old-fashioned historical feel to it, so I could definitely imagine myself jumping straight into Two Rivers and joining Rand’s adventure. I think I’d like this place even if I wasn’t an Aes Sedai (but I do want to be, please oh please!).

4. Black Jewels Trilogy
A matriarchal society where nearly everyone is gifted with varying strengths of magic? Yes please! I’d take even a White jewel to live in that world! I see a pattern emerging, I clearly have a thing for the promise of magical powers. Oh dear.

I really enjoyed this weeks Top Ten Tuesday! Let me know in the comments which fictional worlds you would love or hate to live in!

[TOP TEN TUESDAY] Best sequels

Image Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish and this weeks list is the 10 best book sequels ever! I really struggled with this list as while I love series, I often find the first book is the best. For example, even though I’ve included Catching Fire in my list, Hunger Games is by far my favourite in the trilogy. It also doesn’t help that I haven’t read a lot of these series in full for a while!

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – JK Rowling
It’s always tough to pick a favourite from the Harry Potter series, but I love Azkaban purely for the Lupin and Sirius content. There’s less Voldemort so Rowling could focus on things like characterisation and plot, which definitely set up the rest of the series.

Days of Blood and Starlight – Laini Taylor
I can’t get enough of Laini Taylor’s writing, she’s amazing! The plot is so strong and Karou really grows up, I seriously can’t wait for Dreams of Gods and Monsters!

Catching Fire – Suzanne Collins
Another sequel with a good plot, I loved going back into the arena with Katniss and seeing the revolution build around her.

The Eternity Cure – Julie Kagawa
The Eternity Cure was so fast paced and every turn was completely unexpected. I love the way Kagawa writes and Allie is such a great protagonist.

Son of a Witch – Gregory Maguire
Gregory Maquire has turned Oz into a dark world and it was amazing to continue Elphaba’s story with her son. The story is original and fits perfectly into this more sinister Oz.

Insurgent  – Veronica Roth
While I didn’t think Insurgent was quite as good as Divergent, I really enjoyed visiting all the factions and following Tris as she tries to uncover the truth before it’s too late.

Since I didn’t make it to 10 make sure you comment below with your suggestions and ideas! Do you tend to prefer the first book or their sequels? 🙂

[TOP TEN TUESDAY] Books that should be required reading

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My memories of required reading in High School extend to an entire anthology of poetry, a lot of Shakespeare and Holes by Louis Sachar. Hopefully nowadays kids are encouraged to read a wider variety of books in their English classes! In no particular order, here are my ideal picks for the modern Required Reading List.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – JK Rowling

One of the first books I independently read for pleasure, the Harry Potter series is fantastic for younger readers first breaking away from Primary School books and holds so many positive messages to carry through High School.

1984 – George Orwell

One of my favourite books, best for slightly older readers who can understand and appreciate the original dystopian fiction. Father of so many modern novels, programmes and ideas I think kids would really identify with the tone and themes of 1984.

The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath

I adore this book. High School can be a tough time and so many teenagers feel alone and unable to talk about their emotions. The Bell Jar struck a chord with me as a 13 year old, made me feel hopeful for the future and showed the true power of a great novel.

Dracula – Bram Stoker

Real vampires do not sparkle.

Animal Farm – George Orwell

Animal Farm explained more to me in a much more enjoyable way than any history class ever did. It’s short but packed with strong messages that an English Lit teacher couldn’t help but love pulling apart.

The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien

The father of all modern fantasy and adventure novels deserves recognition. Perfect for students graduating from Hogwarts, JRR Tolkien’s The Hobbit is the perfect introduction to the original world of elves, magic and unsuspecting heroes.

The Help – Kathryn Stockett

Funny and powerful, Stockett vividly captures the two sides of life in the Deep South throughout the Civil Rights Movement. A history lesson and a great novel all in one, perfect right?

Slaughterhouse 5 – Kurt Vonnegut

I will never stop professing my love for Slaughterhouse 5. It’s completely stuffed with messages to decode, a strong anti-war declaration and the perfect scifi slant that keeps the reader guessing. It will be forever relevant and I will never stop recommending it!

Since I didn’t quite make it to ten choices this week make sure you comment below with your thoughts!

[TOP TEN TUESDAY] Most memorable secondary characters

BlogMy first ever Top Ten Tuesday, hosted weekly by The Broke and Bookish, was a tough one. I spent a lot of time thinking about my choices and remembering why I absolutely adore, or despise, these secondary characters! I hope you like my choices and I look forward to reading everyone else’s picks!

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10. Caleb Prior – Divergent Series (Veronica Roth)

Tris spends so much time thinking of herself (forgivable, she is the narrator after all) we never get a chance to pick her brother’s brain. Even though he regularly pops up throughout the series his motivations remain a mystery, and it would be interesting to hear the thoughts behind his, often surprising, choices.

ronhermione

9. Ron Weasley and Hermione Grainger – Harry Potter Series (JK Rowling)

No list about secondary characters would be complete without a nod to JK Rowling. Harry Potter is rife with minor characters as friends, enemies and creatures, arguably the most influential and important of which being Ron and Hermione. They’re the brains and heart behind Harry’s quest, always pushing him onwards and keeping him alive until the next challenge is thrown at him.

moiraine

8. Moiraine Damodred – The Wheel of Time Series (Robert Jordan)

This slot could have been filled by a number of similar characters, the classic mysterious and wise mentor to the protagonist. I chose Moiraine as she’s a complete badass, an incredibly powerful Aes Sedai who made it her mission to find and train the Dragon Reborn, fending off Trollocs and Forsaken with barely a bat of an eyelid and trailing all over The Westlands to keep Rand in check.

7. Dorothea SaDiablo – Black Jewels Trilogy (Anne Bishop)

Evil in the way only a woman can be, Dorothea is cut throat and devious, taking pleasure from her power and the ways she can wield it. The main antagonist in The Black Jewels Trilogy and The Invisible Ring prequel, she is memorable for her cruel and unusual ways of controlling men.

6. Kelsier – Mistborn Trilogy (Brandon Sanderson)

Vin’s mentor in Sanderson’s Mistborn Trilogy is a rebellion hero. Powerful and dangerously charismatic he inspires a full scale revolution, giving us the most unforgettable scene in The Final Empire which encompasses everything he stands for.

Tralfamadorian_by_Angels_Advocate

5. The Tralfamadorians – Slaughterhouse 5 (Kurt Vonnegut)

Without these little green men Slaughterhouse 5 is a completely different novel. It is the philosophies and beliefs of these aliens that shape the novel, whether Billy is hallucinating or not. Billy used the Tralfamadorians to cope with the horrors he’d seen in Dresden, without them he would never have ‘travelled’ through the fourth dimension or learnt about the illusion of free will. Perhaps an unusual choice but the science fiction slant on what would otherwise be a literary anti-war novel is definitely unforgettable.

rue

4. Rue – The Hunger Games (Susanne Collins)

Easily the most heartbreaking moment in The Hunger Games, Rue’s death symbolises everything Katniss hates about the Capitol. Innocent Rue was not only a memorable character but created, for me, the most memorable scene of the entire series.

3. Zuzana – Daughter of Smoke and Bone Series (Laini Taylor)

Zuzana is the perfect sidekick. She’s fierce, loyal and most importantly, hilarious. She offers the comic relief to an otherwise heavy series with her animated ways and is the reason Karou has such an affection for the human world.

joffrey

2. Joffrey – A Song of Ice and Fire (George RR Martin)

No one who has read or seen Game of Thrones could forget Joffrey. The truly abhorrent eldest child of Cersei Lannister, he is cruel, spoilt and hated by his kingdom. Joffrey is without even one redeeming, humanising feature. Perhaps the most through-and-through evil character I’ve ever encountered and definitely memorable for it.

1. Tiny Cooper – Will Grayson, Will Grayson (John Green and David Levithan)

There is no other place than first for Tiny Cooper. He is loud, fabulous and completely steals the show. He stages the biggest school musical to ever grace Chicago, falls in love four times a week and eventually becomes the glue which holds the entire story together. Tiny is the embodiment of a memorable secondary character as he struts his giant way through life.

Make sure you comment below with your suggestions and most memorable secondary characters!