book review · books · Shar · Uncategorized

Review: Allegedly

Hi virtually readers! I’ve been super busy travelling in the last week and have had like NO time to read or comment or almost anything book and blogging related. But I’m here now and I’m reviewing a very interesting book that I mentioned in my list about teen pregnancy. Continue reading “Review: Allegedly”

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book review · books · collabs · shanti · Shar

I Believe in a Thing Called Love co-review

Hi Virtually Readers! Shar and I recently read I Believe in a Thing Called Love, a contemporary YA book about a girl who tries to get the guy of her dreams by following steps gleaned from K-drama. Neither of us watch K-Drama, but that’s not an obstacle to enjoyment of the book—everything is pretty well explained, and it’s entertaining even if you don’t know the tropes. We thought we’d review it together because co-reviews are fun. Shanti is normal type, Shar is italics. Continue reading “I Believe in a Thing Called Love co-review”

lists · Shar

Books about teenage pregnancy| A sub-genre I really enjoy

Hi Virtually Readers! One really random fact about me is that I adore teenage pregnancy books. I’m not sure why; I don’t plan on becoming pregnant in my last 2.2 years of teenagedom. But maybe that’s the point: pregnancy in teenagers is usually unexpected and leads to all sorts of moral qualms and interesting discussions. So here are 10 books about teenage pregnancy. Continue reading “Books about teenage pregnancy| A sub-genre I really enjoy”

book review · books · Shar

Review: The Wouldbegoods

Hi Virtually Readers! I read the Wouldbegoods (and later The Treasure Seekers) recently. They are classic children’s books that I really enjoyed, and I especially liked the writing style so I tried to review it like it had been written in 1901. Even if this book isn’t your thing, I found writing the review super fun.  Also Shanti and I are currently away so the posts in the next few weeks will be scheduled. 

DSC07745Title: The Wouldbegoods

Author: E. Nesbit (who is actually a woman)

Genre: Classic children’s (but fun to read as an older person too)

Themes: Friendship, mischief, living in the countryside, games

Similar to: William series, Peter Pan

Despite the fact that this tome was penned more than11 decades prior to Shar’s time, she thoroughly enjoyed it. She would like to dispel rumours that she only reads fluffy, modern books that rot her brain (though these are more wonderful than some would believe); she is an erudite girl who seeks to read expand her vocabulary and knowledge by reading the classics. And if they are written for children, who cares?—the stories are more interesting anyway.

Continue reading “Review: The Wouldbegoods”

blogging · books · shanti · Shar

The THIRD BLOGOVERSARY aka what is this

Hi Virtually Readers! Life is crazy sometimes and we have been blogging for three years. That’s 16.8% of our lives. It’s almost unbelievable that three years ago two girls sat by a laptop and signed up for wordpress and started to write about books.  But, obviously, we’re very happy to be here. As you may notice, we have a new design! Isn’t it pretty? We’re still working through a few kinks, but Shar did this a few weeks ago and I supported her and offered somewhat helpful advice along the way.We are going to have a giveaway at some point during this year, but our lives are just a bit busy right now, so that won’t be for a while.

Continue reading “The THIRD BLOGOVERSARY aka what is this”

blogging · not books · Shar

Mysterious Search Terms

Hi Virtually Readers! Cait, a most wonderful blogger, ‘replies’ to her search terms in her monthly recaps. Shanti and I have always found this most amusing, so today I’m going to reply to some of the search terms that lead people to our own blog. Also, our blogoversary is in two days (!!!) (yes, we won’t shut up about it. This only happens once a year, after all). So this seemed a fitting thing to do? We have more celebrations planned for next week. Some deliberate misunderstanding, and a great deal of gentle mocking, is going to go down.

Continue reading “Mysterious Search Terms”

books · discussions · Shar

Books I read this year + stats

Hi Virtually Readers! What have you guys been up to? The other day, just for fun, I was counting all the books I’ve read this year (I keep track on calendars I make for myself) and decided to analyse them a bit. Fun fact: I took stats at school last year, and it was my least favourite class. However, plugging numbers into a program that makes pie graphs is pretty easy. So today I’ll show you each fancy chart, then talk about it.

(disclaimer: I made these with Infogram, but I ended up taking screenshots of the charts because I couldn’t work out how to get the images. Technology is hard, yo)

stats post graphics

Books read by month

screen-shot-2017-08-10-at-9-02-44-am-e1502338536711.pngThe most interesting thing about this graph, I think, is the variation. You can see I read the most books in January, June and July (although august isn’t over; I read 4 books in the first 5 days of August but haven’t finished any since). Why? In January, June, and July, I’ve had holidays. In between, I still read, but I was also studying my butt off trying to finish high school, so I had far less time on my hands.

Books read by genre

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Last year I would have told you I read the most contemporary, which is still true, because they’re fluffy and easy to get through and generally shorter than genres like fantasy or historical. But I also have read a lot of fantasy this year. Curiously, Sci-fi and dystopia are my favourite genres (they often overlap so I put them as one), but I read far less than in other genres. Also, I only had one historical fiction book, although books like Passenger, Wayfarer and A Great and Terrible Beauty would classify as both historical fiction and fantasy. I put them under fantasy; the one ‘pure’ historical fiction book was Black Dove, White Raven. I want to read more historical. Also, look how many classics, adult books and nonfiction I read! #proud.

Books I read by gender of author

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This isn’t that surprising, considering that probably the majority of YA authors are women, but maybe I should read a few more books by men to branch out a bit? The ‘both’ included Illuminae, Gemina, and two short story anthologies.

Books I read by series

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I’ve finished so many series this year! Considering I read the most contemporaries and those are generally standalones, you’d think this wasn’t the case, but I’ve read a lot of books that are in series this year. (ACOL, Dreams of Gods and Monsters, Lara Jean trilogy, HP, The Lunar Chronicles, Black Heart, the last two Raven Cycle books, The Winner’s Trilogy, Passenger… you get the idea)

Books I read by reread or read for the first time

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I really enjoy rereading, and just over a quarter of the books I read were re-reads. (Rereading all of Harry Potter and The Lunar Chronicles definitely helped). I think this is about how much re-reading I want to be doing; it’s good to try new books but also return to old favourites.

Books I read by publication date

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I felt like I read a lot of new releases this year. But I think it’s okay that I’ve also read lots of books that were published earlier than this. (This includes 7 HP books, the Lunar Chronicles, and all the classics and adult books and nonfiction I read as well). I love shiny new releases, and I think this year has had a lot of good books, but I’m glad that I haven’t based my choice of reading material on the publication date alone just to keep up with other bloggers.

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This was so much fun to analyse! Thankfully, it involved no t-tests, p-values, or chi-squares (if you know what these are, you get bonus points). Also, these are probably not that accurate because for a few books I guessed release dates and didn’t bother with looking anything up, and also just assumed about the author’s gender sometimes. But whatever. This was mainly a fun exercise, not a precise one.

What do you think of these stats? Which genre do you read the most/least? Do you read more recent releases or backlist books? 

book review · books · Shar · Uncategorized

Review: Want

I *claim* to be a fan of the sic-fi genre. I’ve said before that it’s my favourite. But it has come to my attention that I read far more contemporary and fantasy than sci-fi, which is shameful. So as soon as I heard about Want and realised it was sci-fi/dystopian then I knew I had to read it. So I did. want-by-cindy-pon

Title: Want

Author: Cindy Pon

Genre: YA Sci-fi

Themes: deception, pollution, climate change, activism, friendship, rich people are literally bubble heads.

My blurb: In futuristic Taipei, there are two types of people. The ultra-rich yous protect themselves from the terrible pollution with oxygen suits and money, while the meis die young, suffering from all the environmental degradation and their poverty. After someone Zhou loves is murdered trying to bring in new environment laws, he and his friends decide they’ve got to do something to get back at the corporation who is responsible. But their plan is risky and the first thing they need is a lot of money. Zhou’s actions are about to get him into a game of deception and risk where he might lose sight of the end goal…

There were a lot of good things about this book, but first I have to complain about something important. Namely, the writing style. I haven’t read anything by Cindy Pon before, but the way this book was written really affected my perception of the story. The book required a lot of worldbuilding because of its dystopian nature, but instead of showing aspects of the world of pollution and global warming and poverty inequality, it was totally told. Especially at the start of the book, the writing had what felt like paragraphs spouting information that wasn’t always that relevant, though it did help paint the scene. At other times Jason (that’s his code name—we never learn his real first name, which is weird) comes up with information that you wish he’d announced earlier, like ‘oh I was not sick now because I had the flu when I was 10’ or ‘this person said X important thing to me the other day’ instead of actually showing it happening. This made it feel like the things being narrated didn’t happen.

The writing was also occasionally confusing, especially during action scenes, and there was a big reveal at the end that wasn’t made to feel that big. The book opens on an action scene, then goes back to ‘two months earlier’ to explain what’s going on. After that, though, there is no explanation of the time gaps, even though it becomes evident that weeks or months have passed with only a few days or events having been described. Generally, something about the writing style really made me feel disconnected from Jason and the other characters, even though it was a first person narration, which normally is easier for me to connect to.

However, there were some good things about this book. Firstly, I really liked how it was set in Taiwan, because I’ve never read any other books set there (and the author was born there) and my ex really good friend is Taiwanese. I liked the descriptions of food and although it made the future look bleak, it wasn’t hopeless either.

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I also liked how it dealt with wealth inequality, something that’s rapidly becoming a bigger problem and environmental degradation. I personally believe both of these are going to be big problems in the future and I don’t get why more dystopias don’t tackle them. Like I don’t think the US is going to become a monarchy that likes to play games to amuse the prince and help him find a wife. But growing commercialism, the ethics of surveillance without consent, bio-warfare and deadly viruses, and poverty and climate change are all things that are already problems now and will be in the future. I liked how this book touched on all of these.

Also, I just generally love sci-fi and dystopia, not gonna lie.

 

I really liked the love interest character! I liked how she wasn’t only petite and subservient, but she wasn’t just the Stronge Female CharacterTM archetype. She was a combination of all of them. Jason’s ‘gang’ and all the minor charcters were really interesting.

The plot was intense and usually interesting. I liked how I thought the plot was going to centre around all of Jason’s deceptions getting him into trouble and be something where nothing would happen if everybody was honest, but it wasn’t.

Overall, I liked the idea of this book, and it definitely tackled some good topics, but failed to execute them well enough to make me like it.

Characters: 3/5

Writing: 1/5

Setting: 4/5

Plot: 4/5

Total: 3/5

Have you heard of this? What other books have you read set in South east/East Asia? (I need recommendations) Is there a genre you claim to love, but never read? What have you read which has a really great concept but not as good writing?

blogging · shanti · Shar

Blogoversary| Ask Us Questions

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Hi Virtually Readers! Our 3rd blogversary is next week! That’s kind of hard to believe and pretty exciting. One thing we thought we’d do to celebrate is get you guys to ask us questions which we’ll answer next week.

About what? Anything, really. Blogging tips (because we’re *totally* experts), how we write posts, what we do when we’re not reading or blogging, why we started this blog, how to be as fabulous as we are…. anything. (If we don’t like the question, though, we won’t answer it. So just consider that before you ask what I’ve named my left little toe.)

All you have to do is enter your questions into this google form here. If it’s not working, please tell us and I’ll try to fix it.