Bookish Pet-Peeves

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Being the type of person who is in the constant act of reading, I have picked up a few pet-peeves when it comes to the books I read... I thought that today I would share some of them, and maybe we will all discover that we are not "the only one" who feels irritated at our books when these certain irksome things come up!

Well... Here goes nothing!

1.) Cliches 

There are soooo many cliches in books these days, and it seriously gets on my nerves! You know what I'm talking about... When I feel like I am having déjà-vu as I read, it might just be because I have read it over and over again! I like something unique to savor. 

2.) Unacceptable cliff-hangers

Okay, I know this book is supposed to be the first in a series, but why would you do that thing you did at the end of the book?? I like a decent cliff-hanger on occasion--it makes me want to continue reading. But I cannot stand one that is so deep that I feel like I will plummet to my death before I get my hands on the next book. It's maddening!! 

3.) Unrelateable Protagonist

It's really sad when I start rooting for the antagonist instead of the supposed "hero" of the tale. If the lead role is a despicable human being, a"goody-goody" with no human faults, or someone I just can't bring myself to feel sorry for, chances are I won't relate to them or care about their fate.

4.) Late descriptions

Nothing is more irritating than forming that special mental picture of a character & having it shattered in Chapter 35 when the author finally decides to throw in the person's hair and eye color... If there is going to be that sort of description, I'd prefer it early on.

5.) Crazy Names

"Sir Roldphazertatum MacVanWhozitt the IV of Shazimazfalzar in the North Region of Malionfalionbatwhat..." 

Say what, now? If I can't decently pronounce their names, (or even remember them for that matter,) I am not going to be as interested in their roles in the story. An image will take too long to form in my mind, and I will probably quit reading.

6.) Introducing too many characters at once

It is a major turn-off for me when I am bombarded with new characters at every turn. I like to take things slowly, so when this happens I get overwhelmed and just want to hide my head inside my turtle shell & never emerge again. Slow and steady wins the race in this instance.

7.) Pushy morals

Ugh... I really hate when I run into this. Don't get me wrong, I love-love-love stories with an underlying purpose or meaning, but I do not like it being thrown in my face.  I almost feel like the author thinks I'm either (a) too ignorant to understand the hidden meaning on my own or (b) a totally unfeeling person with no understanding of their point, even after reading the whole story.

In the words of Mrs. P.L. Travers, "Stay there until you learn the art of subtlety..." 

8.) Too much sappy, gag-inducing romance

Have you ever caught yourself gagging because of excess lovey-doveiness in a book? Yeah, that's me... I love some romantic sparking here-and-there, but I do not usually go for the full-on make-out scenes that so many of the YA authors incorporate into their books nowadays. Just...gross.

9.) No humor

This is a huge one for me, because I like to laugh. Chuckling & smirking at some character's witty comeback is a major part of reading for me; I need something to lighten up the mood! If there is no comic relief or no sass-offs every once and a while, I will feel depressed and kinda bored.

10.) Book hype

EVERYONE and their brother is talking about a book, the media is shoving it in my face, critics are talking about how it is the best book in the world, I'm having to see the movie preview only a few months after the book release, I keep getting bombarded with every spoiler on the planet... I end up getting the gist of the whole story & am already sick of it before I have even read it. And honestly, the only reason everyone else is reading it is because it is popular! I know, I sound like such a hipster... But it truly does bug me! (I'm looking at you, TFIOS... Yes, I haven't read you or seen your movie & I probably never will. You can't make me. I already hate you.) 

Now you know my biggest bookish pet-peeves. Forgive me if I sounded brutal or mean... I promise I'm not this rude all the time! Haha! :)

Comment down below & tell me some of your bookish pet-peeves! Did you find some that resonated with you? Lemme know which ones I missed! 

H.M. Wilson

My Top 10 Favorite Side-Characters (Guy Addition)

Monday, April 13, 2015

Okay... I have a thing for good side-characters in stories. Sure, a relatable protagonist is important. Yes, a 'good' villain is imperative. But amazing side-characters are just as vital to an interesting story as anything else.

After I watched a video from BookTuber, jessethereader, (here's the link to his video:  Favorite Side-Characters) I knew I had to make a post discussing a few of my personal favorites... So without further ado, here are ten of my favorite side-characters.

1.) Herbert Pocket from Great Expectations.

I just finished this book, and I absolutely loved this character! Herbert was such a gentlemanly and sweet-natured guy, I couldn't help but love him. He helps Pip, (on whom he bestows the nickname "Handel,") to think a bit more sensitively of other people and also by showing him the true meaning of friendship. 

2.) Newt from The Maze Runner trilogy.

While I didn't really care too much for the series, this guy right here was an awesome character! While his outside seems rather rough and coarse at first, Newt has a soft & sensitive side. I'm not gonna lie-- I was furious at Dashner for what he did to Newt. (To be totally honest, Newt was the only reason I finished the series anyway. So you can imagine how angry I was by the end.) I want to just snatch him up & keep him for my own, but alas, stealing another author's characters is illegal...

3.) Atticus from To Kill A Mockingbird.

Okay... I feel like this big guy doesn't get enough credit. In my mind, Atticus is the epitome of a true southern gentleman. His character remains so classy throughout the the entirety of the tale, and I can't help but be in awe of his self-control and eloquence. And his philosophy that he shares with his children is so beautiful, I have to quote him...

"First of all," he said, "if you can learn a simple trick, Scout, you'll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view […] until you climb into his skin and walk around in it."

4.) Calvin from A Wrinkle In Time.

I'll admit it, he was definitely one of my first fictional crushes. Calvin is just an all-around good guy: smart, sweet, athletic, handsome, sensitive, understanding... (I could go on forever!) And the fact that he loves the things in Meg that she wishes were different is probably his most endearing quality. 

6.) Finnick from (the last two books of) The Hunger Games trilogy.

At first, I thought that Finnick and I were not going to get along at all. But by the last book, he was in my top 3 favorite characters from that series. The fact that he has a hidden softness, that he is so ready to help Katniss no matter what, and that he can be so witty is what I loved most about him. (Susan Collins, why...??)

7.) Jo from Bleak House.

This one is slightly different than my others on this list because I haven't read this book yet, but I couldn't resist adding him. ( I have watched the BBC miniseries & thoroughly enjoyed it! ) Jo is just a common street-kid, always getting chased off by people of an upper class. His part of the tale just crushed me! Something about this kid just stole my heart & made me wanna wrap him in a blanket and adopt him! (Sadly, once more, stealing a character is wrong... Even if his author is dead.) I am dying to read the book and see if I like him as much in the book as I did in the show.

8.) Huckleberry Fin from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.

This fella added a flare of mischief and fun to Tom's story, and ran rampant in his own book. While he does have a bit of a foul mouth, there is something eye-catching and charming about Huck's character that I couldn't seem to get enough of. 

9.) Robin from The Little White Horse.

In the book, he is a kind-hearted, mysterious, rosy-cheeked individual, but in the film adaption, The Secret of Moonacre, he is just the opposite! (Strangely enough, I found that I kinda liked both versions of his character. This time, I will stick with talking about his book personality.) He is a precious boy who picks flowers for Maria every day. He reminded me a lot of Dickon in The Secret Garden because of the whimsical touch to his mannerisms. 

10.) Justin from Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nihm.

Even though he is just a rat living in a rosebush, Justin character is so gentlemanly & chivalrous. Through the whole tale, he is looking out for Mrs. Frisby and trying to make things better for others. At the end, you are never fully sure of what happens to him, but it is insinuated in a single act of bravery that lingers with you after the book is over. 

So there you have it!! These are just a few of my favorite side-characters... Who are some of your favorite side-characters? Comment down below or post your own list & tag me!! <3

H.M. Wilson

What I Look For In A Fantasy Novel (Guest Post from The Daisy Tree)

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Hey, peoples!! Today I thought I'd surprise you all with a special treat: a guest post from my blogging-buddy, Hannah Mary Walsh of The Daisy Tree. She's a super-sweet friend & her blog is precious too! (Plus, our first names AND initials are the same!! How cool is that??) Be sure to stop by and tell her hello for me! And I hope you enjoy reading this list of her favorite things to find in a fantasy novel... <3

  "Hello Readers of Plottinger Twist! I'm Hannah from The Daisy Tree - a different Hannah than you usually hear from! Hannah kindly invited me to guest post on this lovely blog of hers, and I was completely happy to do so. I hope you enjoy this post.

 --- I've always been an avid reader of the fantasy genre. I especially love High Fantasy - fantasy books that take place in another world. I've always been enthralled with stories involving heroic quests, princes and princesses, and magical creatures. Today, I'll be sharing with you a list of six qualities that I look for in a High Fantasy novel. (Keep in mind that these things are my own personal preferences...I know that many other readers may have completely different opinions on what they think a fantasy novel should be!)

1. Epic World-Building
When I think of great world-building, I immediately think of J. R. R. Tolkien and his Middle-Earth books. In those books, Tolkien creates an incredibly rich and complex world. It's hard to believe that he just made it all up. In fantasy books, I think the world needs to be thoroughly (though interestingly) described and explained in order to get the sense that you are truly visiting another place.

2. A Relatable Protagonist
  Because fantasy books are set in an unfamiliar world, I think that having a main character whom we can connect to is very important. Someone like Jill Pole from C. S. Lewis' The Silver Chair, or Ani from Shannon Hale's The Goose Girl. We need someone who is lifelike and realistically flawed.

3. An Unpredictable Plot
 Sometimes fantasy novels follow a familiar pattern. Something like: young, reluctant hero gets swept off on an adventure after finding out that he/she is the chosen one, and with the guidance of a wise old mentor and the help of a magical item fulfills his/her destiny of saving the world. Sound familiar? Probably. But there's nothing wrong with that! Some of the greatest books follow a pattern similar to that. At the same time, though, there needs to be some unique aspects to the plot and some unexpected twists to keep things from getting predictable.

4. Humor
This one is important to me! Fantasy books can sometimes be so serious and dark, so it's nice to have an amusing character or two who lightens things up. Every story needs a Reepicheep or a thief named Eugenides.

5. A Good Villain
Well that's an oxymoron, is it not? By a good villain, I mean a well-written one. I think an interesting villain needs to have some depth of character to him/her - not just be mindlessly evil for no reason.

6. Portrayal of Real Truths
The Fantasy stories that mean the most to me are the ones that portray real truths. The stories that give a clear and beautiful picture of true courage, sacrifice, or kindness. I think good stories - fantasy or otherwise - make us think and teach us something important.

“One tiny Hobbit against all the evil the world could muster...He knew he would try again. Fail, perhaps. And try once more. A thousand, thousand times if need be, but he would not give up the quest.”

There are more things that I like included in a fantasy story - sword-fighting, a sweet romance, beautiful quotes, talking dragons, and so on, but the six that I included in this post are the things that I consider to be pretty essential to a story. Those are the things that make my favorite fantasy stories my favorite. I'd love to hear what you think! Let me know what some of your favorite fantasy novels are, and what you think are essential qualities to a good fantasy story. Toodles! :) "

Spring Cleaning + Random Reading Update

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Whadaya think?? Do you notice anything different...? (Haha! Of course you do!) I just thought it would be nice to freshen things up a bit & do some "Spring Cleaning," if you will, to good old PT.

I hope you all enjoy the new look. I know I certainly do! I'm really digging pink and grey lately... I think I'm planning on doing my bedroom in those colors too. (Random fact of the day, anyone? lol!) But if you have some suggestions for the decor, feel free to comment & let me hear them!!

In other random news, I am currently reading through Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. I cannot get over how completely amazing the writing is!! This is my first encounter with the great celebrated novelist, and to be honest, I was nervous at our first meeting. You might ask why, but I think my fear makes perfect sense when explained...

In any given list of famous works of literature, Dickens' name is certain to appear on the list. When I hear his works repeatedly referenced as some of the most amazing pieces of written art ever published, I immediately begin to think, "Just how sophisticated is this guy's writing? And what mysterious formula did he discover to craft his world-famous stories? How difficult is the reading?" But these questions are not the ones that cut me with anxiety. The question is, "Will I ever amount to a fraction of this magician's talent?"

(Mr. Charles Dickens)

When I dug a little deeper, I discovered that Great Expectations was not published in the usual way, but was first released as a weekly serial in a literary magazine! Also, when the final chapter was published, people were so upset with the sad ending, a friend of Dickens persuaded him to change it to a slightly happier one. (I am more than halfway done with the book, so no spoilers yet! I'm dying to experience the finale...)

So even this literary giant with the phenomenal talent had little hiccups & re-dos along the way. It's encouraging to see that even the best had their slow days and unique ways of trudging forward.

Needless to say, I am enjoying the book very much! So much, in fact, when I went to Half-Priced Books the other day, I went ahead and bought Oliver Twist to read later!! (And I also got Jane Austen's Emma & The Wind and the Willows by Kenneth Grahame.)

What authors have inspired you? And what books were you afraid to pick up because of reputation? Let me know in the comments!! 

H.M. Wilson