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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End of Year Bookish Survey

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“But it’s nearly March, Ngoc!” I hear you say. Better late than never, right? Quite a fitting motto to wrap up my presence in the book community in 2016, where I posted videos semi-consistently (if you can call 1-2 videos a month consistent) up until August and then disappeared into a black hole for the rest of the year. Ditto on Bookstagram where I uploaded 57 posts, which sounds impressive until you realise that means I had nada to offer on my account for roughly 85% of the year. Don’t even get me started on my blogging schedule.

So really, can any of you even say you’re surprised that I’m posting an ‘End of Year’ book survey on the last day of February? Surely not xD

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Number of books read: 42/70

So I failed miserably with my reading challenge. Yeah, let’s not talk about that. Last year, I decided to focus on things in my life other than reading (GASP) Do I regret it? Not at all. Am I going to try to balance my life a little better this year so that I can have a social life, keep up with my fitness and read a tonne of books? YES.

Number of re-reads: 11

I re-read most of The Mortal Instruments (I didn’t finish City of Heavenly Fire until January this year,) The Infernal Devices and books 1-4 of the Throne of Glass series (in anticipation for the release of Empire of Storms)

Genre you read most from: Fantasy. No surprises there.

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Best Book You Read In 2016?

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Lair of Dreams (The Diviners #2) by Libba Bray. Her writing is phenomenal (I’d highly recommend listening to the audiobook because the narration definitely elevates the storytelling to another level.) I couldn’t fault this book at all – the mystery, the plot, the setting, the diversity of the characters and the romances were all top notch and I don’t know how I’m going to survive until the next book comes out.

Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going to Love More But Didn’t? 

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A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas. I have a whole Review + Discussion post about this here so I’m not going to go into detail about why I was thoroughly disappointed with this book. I mean, I didn’t hate it but…I really, really didn’t love it either.

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Most Surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?

The Fill In Boyfriend by Kasie West. I was looking for a light hearted, fluffy contemporary because I was feeling weighed down by all the fantasy I’d been reading since the start of the year and I did get that – BUT I ALSO GOT SO MUCH MORE. Gia’s fragile self esteem, and her need to prove herself to other people really resonated with high school Ngoc, and I even cried in one part of the book, which I totally wasn’t expecting. I’m definitely planning on reading more Kasie West books this year!

Book You ‘Pushed’ the Most People to Read (And They Did?)19032994

I’m not really a pusher-of-books, but I have been harping on about how much I love the Disruption duology by Jessica Shirvington to anyone who’ll spare me 5 seconds and last year, one of my best friends – Tasha from faeriedrugs – finally read it. She didn’t enjoy it as much as I did, but she still gave the first book 3ish stars which is a pretty solid thumbs up.

 

Best series you started in 2016? Best Sequel of 2016? Best Series Ender of 2016? 

Best series

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Best sequel

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Best series ender

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Favourite new author you discovered in 2016? 

  • Kasie West
  • Jenn Bennett
  • Brandon Sanderson

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Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone? 

Night Film by Marisha Pessl. Let me tell you – Ngoc doesn’t do thrillers, she doesn’t do horror, and she definitely doesn’t do psychological-thriller-wait-but-is-it-a-supernatural-thriller thrillers. And yet, I loved this book. Sure, it terrified the living daylights out of me on a few occasions (the most memorable one being when I woke up at 3am one night, sweating and
convinced there were demons in my room) but it was worth it. Mostly.

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Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year? 

The Final Empire (Mistborn #1) by Brandon Sanderson. I hardly even felt the 541 pages because there was something happening on every page. The magic in this book is so unique and Brandon Sanderson’s world building is incredible – I’m really looking forward to continuing with the series this year!

Book you read in 2016 that you are most likely to re-read next year this year?

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Favourite cover of a book you read in 2016?

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Come on guys. What else would I have picked?

Most memorable character of 2016? 

YOU.CANNOT.MAKE.ME.PICK. But if I really had to, I’d say Andrew Minyard from the All For the Game series by Nora Sakavic – because you couldn’t forget him even if you tried.

Most beautifully written book read in 2016? 

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Most thought-provoking/Life-changing book of 2016?

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Especially in light of recent events that I shall not refer to explicitly, I feel like this book is more important than ever. We need to be more mindful of the things we say and realise when something transcends mere ‘education’ and starts to become ‘shaming.’ 10 times out of 10, kindness is always the better teacher.

Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2016 to finally read? 

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I’m sorry, Anais!

Favourite passage/quote from a book you read in 2016? 

When you love someone, they become a part of who you are. They’re in everything you do. They’re in the air you breathe and the water you drink and the blood in your veins. Their touch stays on your skin and their voice stays in your ears and their thoughts stay in your mind. You know their dreams because their nightmares pierce your heart and their good dreams are your dreams too. And you don’t think they’re perfect, but you know their flaws, the deep-down truth of them, and the shadows of all their secrets, and they don’t frighten you away; in fact you love them more for it, because you don’t want perfect. You want them.”  – Julian Blackthorn a.k.a. the most precious of all my fictional cinnamon rolls, Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

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Shortest & Longest book you read in 2016? 

Fantastic Beasts & Where To Find Them by J.K.Rowling (59 pages)

Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare (698 pages)

Book that shocked you the most

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HOW DID I NOT SEE THAT ENDING COMING?!

Also honorary mention to The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson because JUST WHEN YOU THINK ALL YOUR FAVOURITE CHARACTERS ARE SAFE-

OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship)

Jemma. C’mon – nobody else does OTPs quite like Cassandra Clare! Also Kanej. They better be ok by the end of Crooked Kingdom or certain publishing houses are going to be set on fire.

Favourite non-romantic relationship of the year

Vin and Kel from The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson

Favourite book you read in 2016 from an author you’ve read previously

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Best book you read in 2016 that you read SOLELY on a recommendation from someone else/peer pressure

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You all know who recommended this series to me xD

Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2016? 

Julian Blackthorn – DID YOU GUYS NOT READ THAT QUOTE?!

Best worldbuilding/most vivid setting you read this year?

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Book that put a smile on your face/was the most fun to read? 

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“You’re like ten prismacolors all at once.” – THIS BOOK SENT ME THROUGH TEN PRISMACOLORS OF EMOTIONS ALL AT ONCE.

Book that made you cry/nearly cry in 2016?

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Also Me Before You by Jojo Moyes because – well, do I really need to explain?

Hidden Gem of the Year?

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This book seriously doesn’t get enough hype!

Book that crushed your soul?

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Because Cassandra Clare.

Most unique book you read in 2016? 

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Book that made you the most mad?

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There are additional questions about blogging life in this survey, but considering I don’t really have that many posts and I didn’t have time to do much blog hopping last year, I’ve decided not to include them. Thank you so much to Lauren from Wonderless Reviews for tagging me!

Hope you’ve all had a great start to the year!

Much Love,

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The Chainsmokers Tag

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Hey guys! Whaaaat I’m posting again and it hasn’t even been three months yet? WHO AM I?!  xD  Today I’m doing The Chainsmokers Tag created by Kat from KatReadsALot & Maria from Little Livres . I loved the questions so much – thanks for tagging me, Kat!

 

1A book/series that you don’t/didn’t want to end

I NEVER WANT CASSANDRA CLARE TO STOP WRITING SHADOWHUNTER BOOKS. She’s got new releases planned to last us for awhile at least, but I’m going to be so, so sad once it’s all over. I don’t think I’ll ever be ready to let go of the characters.

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An upcoming book you have high expectations for 

Oh, god. Can I get through a single post without mentioning Cassie multiple times? I’m sorry guys –  predictably, my answer to this is going to have to be Lord of Shadows. Cassie’s released so many books in the Shadowhunter world at this stage that I’m really interested to see if she’ll bring something new to the table and also how she’s going to sort out the mess that is Jemma.

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Beautiful Cover + Beautiful Story 

There are so many beautiful books I own that had an equally gorgeous story, but one that definitely sticks out to me is The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender. It was so enchanting and also happens to be the first and only book I’ve ever read with magical realism in it.

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A book you read when it was no longer trending 

So here’s an…uh, ‘interesting’ story for you. I read HP & the Deathly Hallows for the first time last year. That’s about 6 or 7 years after I read the other books. Here’s why – MY FRIEND SPOILED DEATHLY HALLOWS FOR ME. She looked up a list of characters that died in Deathly Hallows & decided it was a GREAT idea to recite them to me – needless to say, I was sufficiently traumatised that I put off reading it until years later. By that time I’d realised that I probably needed to start from the beginning again and that was FAR too daunting a task so I put it off again until last year, when I finally decided enough was enough and I couldn’t bear to hear another “But whyyyyyy haven’t you finished the HP series yet?”

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A book you wish you didn’t read.

Ok, this is a hard question. Because even really bad books are an experience, right? I firmly believe in having no regrets. But I went through my Goodreads list and I guess I kind of regret reading We Were Liars by E.Lockhart. There was just SO MUCH HYPE surrounding it and I was pretty let down – it wasn’t a bad book, but honestly the ‘big plot twist’ wasn’t a huge deal for me and I didn’t even like the characters all that much so I didn’t find the ending as devastating as everyone else seemed to. I wish I could go back to still believing it’s this incredibly mind blowing, emotional read.

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A book that gave you so many feels

Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare – ALL. THE. FEELS.

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An expensive book that you need right now

EVERY SPECIAL EDITION OF PRIDE & PREJUDICE, EVER. Also the illustrated Harry Potter books because I mean come on, can you honestly tell me that’s not on your wishlist this year?

8

A photogenic book 

The special edition boxed sets of The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices. In fact, they’re so photogenic that my bookstagram of the TMI boxed set remains one of my most liked photos despite the fact that I accidentally put the books out of order. AND NO ONE NOTICED (betcha y’all gonna go check out the photo now, though xD)

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A book with lots of good reviews, you hope you’ll like it to

The Raven Boys  – seriously, I’ve even been told by a friend that it’s a ‘Ngoc’ book. It sounds like it has all the elements that normally make me fall hopelessly in love and I honestly couldn’t tell you why I still haven’t picked it up yet BUT IT’LL HAPPEN SOON, I PROMISE.

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A book you stayed the night up for (maybe in tears)

Ruin & Rising by Leigh Bardugo – the only book I’ve ever pulled an all nighter for (although I almost did for The Fill In Boyfriend, too.) I actually finished it at around 5am in the morning and slept like the dead until around midday, so not only did I sacrifice a good night’s sleep for it, I skipped my favourite meal of the day, too. Now that’s true love!

I’m going to tag anyone that wants to do this because I honestly don’t know what your music tastes are but honestly, you don’t even have to listen to the Chainsmokers to do it – the questions are just universally fun!

Have a fantastic week guys and I’ll speak to you soon!

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Aussie Book TAG (Original)

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Hey guys!

GUESS WHAT I’M ALIVE. But I’ve just been incredibly, INCREDIBLY busy and so I pretty much had to choose one commitment/focus a week and ended up neglecting the others. But let’s forget about all of that today because I have something so, SO exciting to share with you all!

My good friend Julia from Picnic Reads and I decided it was about time Australian bloggers and booktubers got a little attention, so we created the Aussie Book Tag together. You can check out Julia’s blog post here and my video below:

Here are the questions if you want to join in!

1. KOALA: A character you want to cuddle ALL DAY LONG
2. VEGEMITE: A book you love that everyone else hates
3. SOCCEROOS: Fave fictional squad
4. SOUTHERN CROSS: Most recent 5-star read
5. PATRIOTISM: Fave book by an author from your country
6. ECHIDNA: A book you like to look at, but it physically hurts to read
7. NED KELLY: A book that is really grim, but an iconic must-read
8. GREAT BARRIER REEF: A book that had you gaping in awe
9. PAVLOVA: A light & fluffy book that you can’t help but love
10. MILO: A genre/author you reach for to get you out of a reading slump

So now for the fun part – I tag my fellow Aussie bloggers:

Lauren from Wonderless Reviews

Aentee from Read At Midnight

Vivian from Inked In Pages

And also my good friends Rachael from RachaelRexds, Kat from KatReadsALot and Jess from Princessica of Books who I now officially crown honorary aussies ❤

To any of you who like the look of the questions and want to join in – go ahead and say I tagged you! And make sure you link back to me so I can see all your posts 😉

Much Love,

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Day Three

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Thank you to the lovely girls at Bibliophile Wanderlust and BookNerd Momo for tagging me to do the 3 days, 3 quotes tag! 🙂 Here are the rules:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you
  2. Post a quote for 3 consecutive days
  3. Nominate 3 new bloggers each day

My final quote is actually one of my favourites of all time – not only do I like its meaning, I also think the the context in which it appeared in the book was very empowering.

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“You could rattle the stars. You could do anything, if only you dared. And deep down, you know it, too.

That’s what scares you most.” 

– Sarah J Maas, Throne of Glass

My nominees for Day 3 are:

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed my posts for this tag!

Much Love,

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Day Two

3d3qheaderThank you to the lovely girls at Bibliophile Wanderlust and BookNerd Momo for tagging me to do the 3 days, 3 quotes tag! 🙂 Here are the rules:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you
  2. Post a quote for 3 consecutive days
  3. Nominate 3 new bloggers each day

For Day 2, I wanted to share a quote from a book I read a few years ago – I guess the fact that it has stayed with me all this time means that it resonated with me quite deeply.

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“Turns out, hell’s not so much a burning, scalding pit of fire and misery. It’s actually much, much worse than that. Hell is when the people you love the most reach right into your soul and rip it out of you. 

And they do it because they can.”

– Jess Rothenberg, The Catastrophic History of You and Me

My nominees for Day 2 are:

Don’t forget to share your own fave quotes with me in the comments! 😉

Much Love,

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Day One

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Thank you to the lovely girls at Bibliophile Wanderlust and BookNerd Momo for tagging me to do the 3 days, 3 quotes tag! 🙂 Here are the rules:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you
  2. Post a quote for 3 consecutive days
  3. Nominate 3 new bloggers each day

I could give you an infinite list of Cassie Clare quotes, but here is one I recently fell in love with – straight from the mouth of everyone’s favourite little cinnamon roll, Julian.

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“When you love someone, they become a part of who you are. They’re in everything you do. They’re in the air you breathe and the water you drink and the blood in your veins. Their touch stays on your skin and their voice stays in your ears and their thoughts stay in your mind. You know their dreams because their nightmares pierce your heart and their good dreams are your dreams too. 

And you don’t think they’re perfect, but you know their flaws, the deep-down truth of them, and the shadows of all their secrets, and they don’t frighten you away; in fact you love them more for it, because you don’t want perfect. You want them.” 

BE STILL MY BEATING HEART.

My first 3 nominees are:

See you all tomorrow with a brand new quote! Don’t forget to share some of your own faves with me in the comments below 🙂

Much Love,

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