T5W: Books/Characters I Felt Betrayed By

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They say only those you love most can truly hurt you with betrayals, right? So what could be worse than having one of your fictional babies turn around and throw your love right back in your face? Ditto to authors you’ve wholeheartedly trusted. Here are five betrayals from the fictional world that I still haven’t gotten over.

5. The Darkling from the Grisha trilogy by Leigh Bardugo

Did you guys see it coming? Probably. Did I? Nope. That’s cool, Leigh Bardugo, shatter my heart in the first book of your series, whydontcha.

4. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by JK Rowling, John Tiffany & Jack Thorne

Those of you who read my discussion about this book might be surprised to see it on this list, considering I gave it a 4 stars and (mostly) loved it. If you haven’t read it and want to keep it a COMPLETE surprise, I’d skip this part RIGHT NOW. Are you ready? The queer baiting – I honestly expected better from J.K. Rowling. She had an incredible opportunity to branch out with a diverse relationship and prompt some really, really important conversations and yet she ended up taking the easy way out. Think of the reach that J.K.Rowling has and what an incredible impact CC would’ve made if there was diverse representation in the play – needless to say, the blatant queer baiting felt like an immense betrayal.

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3. Celaena Sardothien from the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J Maas

When talking about character transformations, there’s no way you could leave out Celaena from the discussion. And whilst I’m proud of her for breaking free of the men who sought to use and oppress her, I can’t say that I applaud her treatment of her friends and allies. As the series progresses, she seems to care less and less about how her actions will impact the people who love her. Sure, she’s looking at the bigger picture – but there are individuals who are part of that picture, willing to lay down their lives for her and they deserve to know what they’re getting themselves into. The person Celaena was in Queen of Shadows and Empire of Storms felt like a betrayal of the big hearted, empathetic girl in the first 3 books of the series.

1. Cress (both the book and the character) by Marissa Meyer

This is going to sound savage, but I feel like this book went back about 100 years in the development of the strong, independent female character. And I don’t mean strong in the flame-throwing, kick-ass way – Tessa Gray, Hermione Granger and Lizzie Bennett have proven themselves as role models as much as Katniss-I-have-impeccable-aim-Everdeen has. Cress, on the other hand, spends the majority of the book relying on a male character she’s infatuated with to rescue her from various dire situations, dreams of having her way with him rather than thinking of possible escape plans, constantly refers to herself as a ‘damsel in distress’ and whines about the possibility of dying without ever being kissed.

As for the book itself, I can’t even describe how I felt about the way it perpetuated the idea that you can fall in love with someone based purely on some fantasy you’ve put together without having actually met them, and that even when reality shatters that fantasy, you can still mould them into what you want them to be, and get them to fall in love with you if you’re just persistent enough.

This book and this character felt like a betrayal of my gender and a betrayal of every book and character that has tried to do away with the damsel in distress trope. To a certain extent, I can sympathise with Cress’ need for human closeness given her isolation, but then I remember the movie ‘Tangled’, where Rapunzel hits the first man she ever lays eyes on with a frying pan and suddenly I’m much, much less forgiving.

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2. Tris Prior from the Divergent series by Veronica Roth

Nope, this isn’t a formatting error – I’ve hidden my reasons for #2 behind a page break because of the spoilers for Allegiant. Read at your own peril 😉

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Fave videos/posts

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So basically this week’s T5W is just an excuse for #shamelessselfpromo , which is something I don’t usually do – so this will be fun! 😉 I’m relatively new to blogging, so this is mostly going to contain posts from my Instagrams (yes, the plural was intentional and you’ll see why!) and Booktube.

5. #iphoneonholiday

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So earlier this year I went to Queensland with my sister, and being the absolute numnut that I am (it’s a word – look it up) I left behind my professional camera and ended up having to take all my holiday photos using my iPhone. Turned out, it was a super fun challenge and I ended up loving some of the photos! You won’t see this photo on my Bookstagram because I have a separate Instagram for my non-bookish photography: ngoct.tran

4. Foodstagram represent

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I like to eat, and I like to take photos of what I’m eating. It’s a very legitimate hobby 😜

3. Bookish rainbow

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This is one of my earliest Bookstagram photos, but definitely one of my favourites! Bookish rainbows always make me happy 🙂

2. 24 things I’ve learned at 24

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This was quite a personal post, and I’m not afraid to say I’m really proud of it! 🙂

1. Playlist Book TAG

This is hands down my favourite Booktube video that I’ve ever done – it was SO much fun to film and edit! So much so, that I might rope my cousins into doing an encore with me later this year!

Thanks again for reading  ❤ (P.S. I know I haven’t had much variety on my blog so far, but I have some reviews coming up so please bear with me!)

Much Love,

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Father Figures

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I’m always drawn to books with good family dynamics in it and although YA is filled with lovely maternal figures, good father figures are harder to come by – in fact, I’d go as far as saying that the absentee/abusive dad is becoming as much of a trope as the mysterious bad boy.

Despite that, I have a few exemplary fictional fathers that I adore, and today I want to celebrate my top 5!

5. Mr. Bennet (Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen)

I LOVE Mr. Bennett – his witty remarks and good natured jabs at his wife are one of my favourite things about the book. Although he makes fun of his girls endlessly, you can tell there isn’t anything in the world he wouldn’t do for them.

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4. Luke Garroway (The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare)

Oh would you look at that – Cassandra Clare made it into another one of my blog posts xD Luke isn’t actually related to Clary or Simon, but he protects them fiercely and his relationship with them proves that family isn’t necessarily blood – it’s the people who will love and stand by you when you have nothing left.

3. Arthur Weasley (I don’t even think this needs a reference)

The HP series is FULL of wonderful father figures – Sirius, Professor Lupin, even Dumbledore (although that becomes a bit of a contentious issue once you get to Deathly Hallows.) If you asked me to explain why Arthur is my favourite, I honestly couldn’t tell you. Maybe it’s because re-reading the series last year made me want to be adopted by the Weasleys. Or because Arthur and Molly welcomed Harry into their family as if it was the most natural thing in the world. It could also be the fact that Arthur survives a few near death experiences, unlike many of Harry’s other father figures. 😱

2. Coach Wymack (All For The Game series by Nora Sakavic)

One of the things I really loved about this series was that Coach Wymack didn’t fit the ‘father figure for the misfits’ stereotype – he didn’t just round up a bunch of troubled teens in the hopes that he could fill some gaping hole for them. I think they looked up to him without ever really meaning to. He actually reminds me a little of Coach in Teen Wolf – Wymack’s non-pep-talk-pep-talks are THE BEST!

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1. Julian Blackthorn (Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare)

Let’s face it, Julian single handedly raised 4 kids from the age of 12. Sure, he had help from Emma and Diana – but anyone who’s read the book will agree that Jules’ siblings see him as more of a father than an older brother. He shoulders this burden without complaint or even a hint of bitterness, and he always puts everyone’s needs before his own. Throughout the entire book, all I wanted to do was wrap my arms around him and shelter him from the world. ❤

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Thanks again for reading and don’t forget to leave a link in the comments if you participate in T5W so I can check out your posts, too! 😀

Much Love,

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T5W is a Goodreads group created by Lainey and co-hosted by Samantha

Book Theme Songs

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There are some amazing people out there who are so adept at multi tasking that they can read and  listen to music at the same time (looking at you, little sis 😏) Unfortunately, whilst I can simultaneously juggle a bowl of rice, Instagram, catch up on booktube videos and pen a letter to the Australian prime minister with my left foot, when I’m reading I absolutely cannot focus on anything else. 

However, there are certain songs that instantly made me think of a particular book, and now they are forever engraved in my mind as an inseparable entity. They just go together like peanut butter and jelly.

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5. Wings (Birdy) & Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

“Oh damn these walls

In the moment we’re ten feet tall

And how you told me after it all

We’d remember tonight

For the rest of our lives”

4. Try (specifically the Max Schneider cover) & Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi

Seriously though, listen to this song and then tell me you don’t immediately picture Warner whispering the words to Juliette.

“Wait a second

Why should you care what they think of you

When you’re all alone, by yourself

Do you like you? Do you like you?

You don’t have to try so hard

You don’t have to give it all away

You just have to get up, get up, get up, get up

You don’t have to change a single thing.”

3. Strong (One Direction) & Allegiant by Veronica Roth

“I’m sorry if I say I need you

But I don’t care, I’m not scared of love.

Cos when I’m not with you I’m weaker.

Is that so wrong?

Is it so wrong?

That you make me strong?”

2. Fight Song (Rachel Platten) & Disruption by Jessica Shirvington

Because aside from being one of the most intelligent, ruthless female leads I’ve ever read about, Maggie literally kicks ass. As in, she can muay thai you into the next century.

“This is my fight song

Take back my life song

Prove I’m alright song

My power’s turned on

Starting right now I’ll be strong

I’ll play my fight song

And I don’t really care if nobody else believes

Cos I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me.” 

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1. Style basically the whole 1989 album (TSwizzle, who else?!) & the Mara Dyer trilogy by Michelle Hodkin

“I should just tell you to leave cos I 

Know exactly where it leads but I

Watch us go round and round each time.”

I actually made a book playlist for the Mara Dyer trilogy on my Youtube channel, so if you want to check it out, I’ll embed it below 😀

Let me know – do you guys have book playlists? Can you listen while you’re reading, or can you only concentrate on reading when it’s dead silent?

Much Love,

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T5W is a Goodreads group created by Lainey and co-hosted by Samantha

Characters I Defend

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I’m usually pretty mainstream with my tastes in characters – I swoon over the Will Herondales and scream at the Voldemorts of the literary world just like I’m supposed to. But sometimes I go against the grain and love characters who get some serious flak from the book community. So here is my list of top 5 babies fictional characters who I will defend until my last breath.

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5. Katniss, The Hunger Games trilogy

Everyone loves Peeta, but Katniss gets a load of criticism for the choices she makes, particularly in the final two books. People seem to forget that she is 16. SIXTEEN. I’m 24, and I’m pretty sure I couldn’t even make it through 10 minutes of the Hunger Games with my sanity intact, let alone two games and a war!

4. Mal, The Grisha trilogy

Mal made numerous guest appearances in one of last year’s T5W: Characters I Want to Drown. It broke my heart! I can’t understand why so many people hate him – out of all of Alina’s love interests, he was the only one who didn’t have any ulterior motives. Nikolai and The Darkling both courted her for political reasons, at least at first – whether or not either of them truly fell in love with her after that, I was never able to figure out.

3. Andrew, All For the Game series

I’ve seen a few people criticise Andrew’s actions in the first book, and whilst no-one’s been crazy negative about it, it still makes me want to cradle my sarcastic little baby (who would probably murder me for calling him that) and scream at the critics, “KEEP READING!” I’m not saying you’ll necessarily agree with or support his choices, but if you give him a chance and follow through with the series, you’ll understand his character a lot more. Right after you find out about his past and your heart shatters into a million pieces

2. Rhysand, ACOTAR series

Oh yes, everyone loves him now. BUT WHERE WERE YOU ALL WHEN I WAS DEFENDING HIM IN ACOTAR?!

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1. Chaol, Throne of Glass series

I’ve said it before – Chaol could actually destroy a whole city and I’d probably find a way to justify it. I know a lot of people don’t understand where he’s coming from, especially in the last 2 published books, but I do. All these other characters are off making their big, grand plans for a better world, but who’s looking after all the commoners caught in between? Chaol, that’s who! ❤

Are there any characters you get defensive about?

Much Love,

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T5W is a Goodreads group created by Lainey and co-hosted by Samantha

Summer Reads

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Hey guys!

Today I’m super excited to be sharing my first ever T5W post with you all and even though it’s actually Autumn going on Winter here in Australia, I like to think that living in the land Down Under gives me an all-access pass to anything Summer related 😉

5. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

Pretty sure this will be on a lot of people’s T5W this week! TATBILB was a bit over-hyped for me – I wasn’t mad about any of the characters aside from Kitty & Peter, and the juvenile language put me off a bit, considering I’m used to being wooed by authors like Cassandra Clare & Sarah J. Maas. But nothing screams SUMMER like super cute contemporaries, and I can’t deny that TATBILB rates pretty high on the cute radar  ❤

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4. Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson and 3. Let’s Get Lost by Adi Alsaid

Another thing that screams Summer? Road trips! I’ve never actually been on a road trip with my friends (unless you count our day-long food adventures,) but I like to live vicariously through the lives of fictional characters. I guarantee that after reading these two, you’ll want to grab your nearest friend and jump in a car yourself!

2. Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

I know what you’re thinking. WHY NOT ANNA? Although Anna & the French Kiss was infinitely cuter, I’m not a fan of ‘cute cheating’ in books, and I’m going to leave it at that. Lola was a story with real heart, and I loved the message that you should never feel entitled to someone’s love –  you should earn it. And c’mon guys, CRICKET BELL ❤

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1. Fruits Basket by Natsuki Takaya

It took me 3 years to finish this manga series. THREE. YEARS. Why? Because I refused to read it illegally online, and I’d have to starve for a year AND sell library books on the black market to afford them all at once, so I spread out my purchases (I was a poor Uni student, ok? Don’t judge me!) I honestly just adore Fruits Basket – I cried and laughed and fell in love with all the characters. And just look at how short each volume is! You could marathon the whole series in less than a week 😀

Hope you enjoyed my first T5W – if you participated, leave a link below so I can check out your recommendations!

Much Love,

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T5W is a Goodreads group created by Lainey and co-hosted by Samantha