Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee – Spoiler Free Review

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Title: Go Set A Watchman
Author: 
Harper Lee
Series Name: To Kill A Mockingbird
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publication Date: July 14th, 2015
Pages: 278 (Paperback)
Publishers: Arrow Books
Rating:
3 and a half star

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Go Set a Watchman is set during the mid-1950s and features many of the characters from To Kill a Mockingbird some twenty years later. Scout (Jean Louise Finch) has returned to Maycomb from New York to visit her father Atticus. She is forced to grapple with issues both personal and political as she tries to understand both her father’s attitude toward society, and her own feelings about the place where she was born and spent her childhood.

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I like this book cover, it’s simple and matches the first book in the series. I also like the other cover, It’s the cover in my header image, it is also simple and nice. I also like that it represents this book more than just linking back to To Kill A Mockingbird like the edition I own does.

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I don’t enjoy the writing in this book as much as I did To Kill A Mockingbird. This story was more difficult to understand than the first book as well. I still don’t fully understand the point of this book because I just didn’t understand it. I think it has a lot to do with the POV it was written from. In To Kill A Mockingbird it was written from a young girl POV and it was simple to understand and because she was a child the characters in the book explained things to her in a way that was easy to understand as well. Whereas in this book she is in her late 20s I believe and when characters were explaining things to her I just got lost. Especially in the end when she went to visit Uncle Jack and he was trying to tell her stuff, I just didn’t follow a lot of the time. There is also still that slang, that I simple don’t know the meaning of.

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There wasn’t much of a plot really to this book, she basically just came home, found out things and had an argument. That is all there was to this book and I just feel underwhelmed by it. I get that this book is meant to show personal and political problems and how she deals with it, but because a lot of the time I was confused as to what the other characters were on about, so that portion of the book just wasn’t that clear for me.

I did like the memories that were thrown in from the part in her life that we missed in the 20 years between To Kill a Mockingbird & Go Set A Watchman.

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Honestly all the characters felt the same that came back, which included Atticus, Alexandra & Jean Louise. Uncle Jack was an interesting character, he was one that I didn’t understand half the time though, but he was still interesting. Hank/Henry I felt was kinda thrown in there as he wasn’t mentioned in To Kill A Mockingbird that I remember. It’s probably because I’m used to reading books that only have a couples days, months or a year between the first and second, but this one is 20 years later and alot was missed. And in this one he just kinda appeared and was a big part in Jean Louise’s life, but it just kinda felt fake and pushed.

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I didn’t love this book. It’s that simple. It was mostly because i was confused and if I understood it more then I probably would have been more enjoyable! In my opinion I think that To Kill a Mockingbird should have just stayed as a standalone.


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Down the TBR Hole #5

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This meme is hosted by Lia @ Lost in a Story.

Here is what you do:

  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

I’m bumping it up to 10 books per post instead of 5 this week, I may continue this but it will just depend on how I feel that day.


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The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

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My mum used to watch the TV show for Wind in the Willows when I was younger and it was always so interesting and funny. I really want to read this book and its short and should be an easy read!

Verdict: KEEP

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

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This is a kids book and is only about 40 pages! It’s also a classic of sorts and I have never read it and really want to.

Verdict: KEEP

The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

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This is another classic that I really want to get to. I have watched the movie a fair few times and really needs to get to the book!

Verdict: KEEP

In the After by Elisa Dane

In the After

Abandoned by Elisa Dane

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I’m putting both of these together as they are both by the same author and same genre These are contemporary romances and I don’t even why I put these books on my TBR when I don’t read these books really.

Verdict: DELETE

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor 

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So I have read Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor and absolutely loved it! This series was on my radar before, but since reading Strange the Dreamer it is a lot higher on my TBR list!

Verdict: KEEP!

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This is a Historical Fiction book set in 1914 in England. This follows a girl called Poppy who is thrown into the front lines as a Voluntary Aid Detachment Nurse in the middle of World War 1. This book sounds so interesting and I am a huge fan of Historical Fiction and real want to read more of them!

Verdict: KEEP

World War Z by Max Brooks

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I own a copy of this book and it has been on my radar for a while, I just haven’t got around to it yet. This is such and interesting way to right a apocalyptic/post apocalyptic book and I really want to read it! I have considered listening to this book through Audiobook as I have seen it recommended a heap!

Verdict: KEEP

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

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I think the reason I haven’t started this book is, one its such a big series, two all the books in the series aren’t out yet and I do prefer to read all the books together if I can and three I have read ACOTAR and it didn’t blow me away as much as everyone says it will and I don’t want to get disappointed if this one is similar. Also a fair few people have issues with the romances in this series and also the lack of diversity. I do want to give this book a go for myself and I do own the first book. It’s just not really high on my priority list.

Verdict: KEEP

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

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I have read Anna and the French Kiss and enjoyed it as an easy read between Fantasy series! So I do want to eventually get to this book. The first book was an easy and quick read and I will pick up this one when I need a book like that!

Verdict: KEEP


Well that is all for today! I only deleted 2 out of the 10, but this early in my TBR list is where I was starting to add all the popular books everyone was talking about and most of them are ones that I do want to pick up, just haven’t got to yet.

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Down the TBR Hole #3

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This meme is hosted by Lia @ Lost in a Story.

Here is what you do:

  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

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The Giver by Lois Lowry

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I have watched the movie for this book and really enjoyed it, so I do want to give this book a go! I don’t know if they are going to continue this series in movie form, but I want to know what happens next after the first movie. So that is another reason why I want to read this book so I can continue the series!

Verdict: KEEP

The Selection by Kiera Cass

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I heard a lot of hype about this series when I first started watching BookTube, but didn’t really know what it was about. Now that I actually know what this is about, it doesn’t sound like something I would read.

Verdict: DELETE

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

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I still don’t really know what this is really about, but I like going into books knowing nothing! This is a series that a lot of people love! And especially some of the people that I share similar reading taste with! So I definitely want to read this series! And that book cover is just gorgeous!

Verdict: KEEP

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

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I already own a copy of this book and it does sound interesting! I have been a bit iffy about it because I read Heartless by Marissa Meyer and disliked it. As that was the first Retelling I have ever read, that kinda made me a bit iffy with the genre. I have since read Flame in the Mist, which is a Mulan retelling and disliked it too!!! That wasn’t because of the retelling aspect, just the book in general wasn’t great. So I do want to give this a go as it is definitely a highly loved series and I’m really curious about it!

Verdict: KEEP

My Blood Approves by Amanda Hocking

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Okay, so this is my first time reading the synopsis. I originally thought vampires and Amanda Hocking! YESS! I have loved all the books I’ve read before by Amanda Hocking. But now that I have read the GoodReads synopsis and it implies a love triangle. I’m out. I can’t stand love triangles in books!

Verdict: DELETE


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The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas – Spoiler Free Review

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Title: The Hate U Give
Author: 
Angie Thomas
Genre: YA Realistic Fiction Contemporary Diverse
Publication Date: February 28th, 2017
Pages: 464 (Hardcover)
Publishers: Balzer + Bray
Rating:

5 Star

Blog Titles

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does or does not say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

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I’m going to add a couple quotes but I won’t mention names for things that are slightly spoilery, I’ll just put ……. instead.

This review will be a little different to my usual ones as I quite simply am having trouble of what to say about this book, it just amazing and it’s hard to find the right words to put in each of the categories I usually use. So I’m just going to say everything that comes to mind!


Firstly I want to say that no book I have ever read has made me tear up as many times as this one! I marked each time this happened in the book with yellow sticky notes and there is 16 in it. I also used Blue sticky notes for time that there was funny things or references to Harry Potter or Fresh Prince of Bel-Air! I love both Harry Potter and Fresh Prince and the fact that those were the main two things that were referenced multiple times in this book was amazing!

“Don’t call me that. Especially since She Who Must Not Be Named gave me that nick name.”
Damn. She Voldemorted …….”

Also I loved Mav & Lisa, Starr’s parents! They were hilarious sometimes!

Starr and her Mum talking about Tumblr! And this was so my mum, but FarmVille requests when she first got Facebook.

“No, you’re forbidden to get one. No parents allowed. You guys already took over Facebook.”
“You haven’t responded to my friend request yet.”
“I know.”
“I need Candy Crush lives.”
“That’s why I’ll never respond.”

And Starr and her Dad talking about Macbooks

He gets the grapes out the refrigerator. “You still got that old laptop? The one you had before we bought you that expensive-ass fruit one?”
I laugh. “It’s an Apple MacBook, Daddy.”
“It damn sure wasn’t the price of an apple.”

I loved how real this book was, that’s why I can’t really talk about the characters as usually I would say ‘I enjoy them and I like how the author developed them throughout the book’ or some crap like that. But in this book EVERYONE of those characters were real to me, I felt like I was Starr’s best friend and seeing her go through this struggle. I felt like I was the one that saw Khalil die, it was just amazingly written.

I also loved because of how real it felt, it made it so much more obvious that this is something that is actually happening in the real world on a regular basis and how shit this is!

I was curious and read some of the 2 star reviews for this book on Goodreads. So I just have a couple things to say about some reviews I saw. A lot of people said that the writing was really badly done, to me I see this written as if Starr wrote it. Garden Heights Starr that is, I see nothing wrong with that writing, it’s just another part of what makes it feel so real. Some people said it was unrealistic. For one thing unless you are a Black American living in this type of situation, then how the hell do you know if it is realistic or not?! And two Angie Thomas is a Black American, so I think she would have a little more knowledge of the situation.

Another thing that was mentioned was that there was ‘black stereotypes’, is it really a black stereotype if it is a black person using it? In my opinion no.. For example, there is the stereotype that all ‘black’ people liked fried chicken. The subject of fried chicken comes up in this book and that’s not necessarily considered a stereotype if a black person admits they like fried chicken, like Starr says, come on, it’s fried chicken! Who doesn’t love it?! And considering in that scene it was both Starr and Maya (her WHITE friend) that was excited about the fried chicken then it wasn’t a stereotype in my opinion. Like, who doesn’t love fried chicken?!?! And most of the things that I could see that people might consider a stereotype are just basic shit, I don’t see any of them as negatively used stereotypes…
I don’t actually know if this last paragraph made sense, it was so hard trying to describe that and get it to make sense haha.

I think that this book is so damn important right now! This is actually happening and it’s absolute bullshit! I’m Australian, so this doesn’t directly affect me obviously, but I’m for equal rights for EVERYONE and that’s just not right how they are treated. Out of this entire book, even if you don’t want to buy it and read it then at least go into a bookstore or library and read pages 168-171. They perfectly describe what is happening!

I don’t know what else to say! I loved this book so much and I honestly just think that this is a book that everyone needs to go out and read for themselves.


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My Rating System

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So for ages I haven’t had an actual rating system and I have finally created one. Before this I kinda just went with whatever I felt at the time. However I want to start being a bit more critical about my reviews because when I first started I didn’t really think about it too much and now that I look at my Reviews by Rating page I have realised just how many book I rate with 5 stars. So that is why I have created a rating system. I am also going to go back and alter some of the ratings on my previous reviews on this blog so they more accurately fit this rating system.


My Rating System


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Discussion Friday – Cover Buys

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Well HAPPY EASTER everyone! I don’t know what day you’re actually mean to say that as their is damn 4 days of Easter, 3 with names and it’s confusing. But anyway, here is my second Discussion Friday post! If you saw my post on Sunday, I think, I explained why I missed last weeks Discussion Friday, but if you didn’t see it… I was at the pub drinking, didn’t get home till 3 in the morning and that was not happening after 3am, so I missed a week, oh well, moving on!

Now onto the discussion! I want to break this kinda into sections so it’s not just a tonne of paragraphs all over the place..


Have I Purchased Any Books ONLY Because Of The Cover?

Yes, yes I have. It happens occasionally. I have 2 books on my TBR shelves that are Cover Buys and they are Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon & These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner. So two isn’t that bad and they are both books that I think I might read eventually, probably more likely These Broken Stars as I’m mainly a Sci-Fi & Fantasy reader. That probably sounds bad because I know that Everything, Everything is meant to be really good and it’s diverse, but I don’t really read diverse books, purely because I don’t enjoy contemporary as much as fantasy and there is a limited amount of diverse characters in fantasy books. But if you have suggestions of diverse fantasy, please share them in the comments!

Why I don’t generally ONLY cover buy

So I usually have pretty good control of myself when it comes to book buying. This is partially, well actually mainly because I can’t afford to be wasting money on books that are just going to sit on my shelves and never get read! Sorry but I aint that rich! So I usually control myself. I never go to bookstores either, so that helps. I wish I could go to book stores but I live 3 hours from the nearest decent one and it’s also alot dearer than Book Depository! So I don’t have the impulse to buy books that I see are beautiful sitting on the shelf, because I don’t shop in book stores and looking at books on Book Depository doesn’t have the same effect.

Why I think cover buying is fine, if done right

So, no I will never think only cover buys are okay, meaning books that you pick up and think ‘hey this is pretty, but I don’t know anything about it, it’s a genre I don’t read? Oh well it’s beautiful’ and put it in your basket. That’s just not smart, if you have more money than me, by all means waste it on books that will sit on your shelf for years and never be touched. But I’m not about that life.

How I Cover Buy

What I mean by done right, is I think the way you go about buying books that you didn’t just go onto book depository or into the book store specifically looking for. So, if I am in a book store or browsing through book depository and I see a beautiful book, the first thing I do is look at the genre. In bookstores that easy because its usually labelled what section you’re in, on BD I just jump on Goodreads and search it. If it is a YA Fantasy/Sci-Fi, then I may just purchase it, as I enjoy going into books knowing bare minimum if I can help it. I don’t always reads synopsis for that reason.

However if I’m still hesitant then I will check on Goodreads to see if any of my Goodreads friends have read it and look at their rating or want to read it. If Goodreads friends I know I have similar tastes to either want to or have read it and rated it 4 or 5 stars then I will probably pick it up.

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This is a section of  my ‘friend reviews’ for Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

If it isn’t an as well known book and my friends don’t have any ratings or very few then I might look at the synopsis on goodreads, I don’t always do this as like I said I like going into a book knowing nothing, but if the cover really has me curious and my other methods don’t work then I will read the synopsis and see what it’s about and then I will decide to either pick it up or leave it.

Why Covers Are Important To Look At

So (I really need more words besides ‘so’ to start paragraphs, oh well), the way I see it, book covers are like movie trailers. They are the first thing you see about a new movie and covers are the first thing you see about a book. They are advertisements that are meant to draw you over to that shelf in the book store and make you want to pick that one up. That is just how it is.

Yes I know “don’t judge a book by it’s cover” but you kinda have to when it comes to books you’re not familiar with. You do it without even noticing it. You walk into a bookstore and go into the section for your fave genre and there is a book sitting there with just a grey background colour and the name of the author and title on the front in white and next to it is a gorgeous bright blue coloured book with colourful feathers on it. Which are you going to pick up? The dull one or the beautiful one, of course, most people will pick up the beautiful one and read the blurb from there. That’s how it works. I know that book sitting next to the pretty one could be an amazing book that you would love, but humans are visual things and we can’t help when pretty things draw our attention, it’s human nature.

Of course their is times when you shop for books and the covers aren’t important to you, like if you’re searching for a specific book that you think you’ll enjoy, even if it has a ugly cover in your opinion, you pick that up. But when it comes to books you aren’t familiar with, it is going to happen.

Yes, cover shopping is okay

I think there should be a new term, ‘cover shop’. When you are shopping and you look at books that appeal to you but you assure they are something you will enjoy before actually making the purchase. I’m okay with cover shopping.

So, yes people are going to cover shop, but as long as you are smart enough to make sure it is something you will actually read before choosing to buy it, then you’re fine. If not your thing then just have another look at that beautiful cover  and walk away.


Discussion time

Do you cover shop or cover buy?
How do you decide to purchase a new book that you weren’t familiar with prior?
What cover buys have you made?
What cover shopping books have you chosen to purchase and turned out to be amazing books?

Also let me know any topics I should discuss!

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Discussion Friday – Book Tropes & Trends

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So, this is my first discussion post! YAY! This one is going to be a fairly well talked about topic just to get me going on the first one! So today I will be discussing a couple book tropes & trends that I like to read, that I don’t mind or just hate. Please feel free to comment and discuss anything, even if your views are not the same as mine!


Missing/Dead/Unknown Parents

So this one is one of those that I don’t mind. It seems like A LOT of books now have included this trope! To some degree yes it is getting a little bit ridiculous, but at the same time it really doesn’t worry me that much! I find that most characters draw strength from the fact that they have lost their parents and use that to become badass protagonists such as Harry Potter!

The ones that do kinda annoy me are the ones where the protagonist doesn’t know who, most of the time, their father is. That part itself is fine, but every time this is the case the mother knows who it is or lies about who it is. It’s not okay to lie to your kids or keep things like that form them, I get that its always to ‘protect them’ but in natural fact if you tell them and be there for them, then they will get through it and move on with their lives! Yes the world is shitty, but accepting that early is better than pretending everything is fabulous all of the time and then when they get to the point of living away from the mother and they realise life is shit and they spiral down hill because they can’t handle it because everything has been sugar coated for them their whole life! (Hope that makes sense!)
Another thing to do with the unknown father thing is I can guarantee that half way through the book/series the protagonist will find out or be given the chance/option to find out who their father is and every time the character says they have survived this long without them and they don’t need to know! Well guess what in about 2 chapters they have changed their mind! Just because you are portraying a strong character that doesn’t mean they have to always show that face, they can want straight away to find out who their father is, we aren’t going to think less of them! This isn’t the case all of the time, but a majority of the time it is.

Let me just give you an example of how often this trope occurs I’m going to go back through the last few books I have read and whether this trope occurs. I won’t say the names of the books and I don’t want unexpected spoilers. 

Dead mother – unknown father
Parents Killed
Arsehole father – mother to scared to do anything
Orphan
Dead

That’s just the last 5 books/series I have read! 


Multi POV

I don’t know if this is really a trend or trope but I feel like more and more books are using this. And I love it!I like that you can see a lot more of whats going on, not just what the main character is seeing. I also like that it allows you to understand characters better, instead of just seeing other characters from the POV of the main character you can get in their head as well and learn about them and connect with them more than you would normally.

The only thing that annoys me about Multi POV is that some authors don’t put at the top of the chapter whose POV we are now seeing from. This is okay if the writing is done well and you can tell straight away whose head you are in, but when it’s not done well you can be sitting their for 1/4 of a chapter trying to figure out whose POV it is! That there drives me wild! I’m okay if  Multi POV, but just to save confusion, put the name at the start of the chapter! It may make sense to the author when writing it but that doesn’t necessarily translate to the reader as well. 


Love Triangles

No, just fucking no! In my opinion if you actually love the first guy you would not have fallen for the second guy! Don’t lead people on, just sit down and figure out what you want! I hate this shit. That is all! 


Well that is all for now, I feel like this is a topic I could continue on another blog post in time, so I will probably do that soon when I think of some more I want to discuss! 

How did I go on my first discussion post?!

What are some tropes or trends you like or dislike? How do you feel about the ones I talked about? Any suggestions for topics I can discuss in coming weeks?

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