Top Ten Favorite Heroines From Books

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are mine and do not necessarily reflect those of SS Readers Corner.

I haven’t had much time to blog these days due to work commitments. Nevertheless I always makes some time for #TopTenTuesday particularly when the topics are something I am familiar with. The topic for today is ‘Top Ten Favorite Heroines From Books’. Since the books that I read tend to be romantic in nature, it’s hard to shortlist my list of favourite heroines. After giving it much thought, I decided to write my ten favourite heroines as well as some snippets from their books or fans’ reviews that describe their characteristics/personality:

Louise Downe in ‘Silver Lining’ by Maggie Osbourne

‘Silver Lining’ by Maggie Osborne

I love this scene (refer below) where Mother McCord told her son Max about Louise’s character. It perfectly describes one of Louise’s characteristics.

“I’ve always known what you were thinking. You’re squeezing that marble in your pocket and you’re thinking your cattle wouldn’t be at risk if it weren’t for Louise. And maybe you’re right. But take a hard look, son. When you see that woman working up a sweat pitching hay like a hired hand … you’re looking at character.”

“And if we ever have another family dinner that goes like the last one did, you pay attention. I have an idea that your Louise doesn’t sit still for too many insults, and I imagine she could cut someone down to size in about three sentences if she wanted to. But she sat silent while Philadelphia ridiculed and belittled her. Louise did this out of respect for you and this family. That is also character.”

Katherine James in ‘Naked Edge’ by Pamela Clare

Katherine James is proud of her Native American heritage and wants to be a voice for the Navajo community. She is a modern woman who lives in a big city but she still practices the traditional values. She isn’t easily offended when people questioned about her old-fashioned beliefs. She educates those who are unaware of Navajo customs.

If you’d like to read about the inspiration for Naked Edge, click here.

‘Naked Edge’ by Pamela Clare

Alyssa Locke in Suzanne Brockmann‘s Troubleshooters series

‘Gone Too Far’ by Suzanne Brockmann

Alyssa Locke is a kickass FBI agent. Her story is told in several books in the Troubleshooter series. This blog post perfectly summarises the characteristics of Alyssa Locke.

Marguerite Perruquet in Joey W. Hill‘s ‘Nature of Desire’ series

Marguerite was prominently featured in ‘Ice Queen’ & Mirror of My Soul’

Forget Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy. If you want to read emotionally-gripping BDSM romance book(s), read Joey W. Hill’s Nature of Desire series. Marguerite is my favourite character because of her vulnerability. Plus she owns a tea shop and teaches tea drinking ceremony!

Laurel Wilkins in ‘Mouth to Mouth’ by Erin McCarthy

‘Mouth to Mouth’ by Erin McCarthy

This book is refreshing because it features a heroine who has hearing impairment. Laurel is caught between the deaf and hearing worlds. Laurel is able to live a pretty normal life because she doesn’t allow her disability to define her.

Risa Clay in ‘Sweet Southern Betrayal’ by Robin Covington

‘Sweet Southern Betrayal’ by Robin Covington

I ❤ Risa because of her sassiness and confidence. She also one of the toughest, kindest and most affectionate heroines I have encountered. Another reason I like Risa: her vulnerability. She wasn’t afraid to tell about her misfortunes.

“You deserve to have someone take care of you once in a while.”

Risa stiffened at his words, her back rigid and tight. “That kind of thinking is for princesses who grew up in castles, not for girls who’d gone from one crappy foster home to another.”

“You don’t think you deserve that?

“You learn not to want stuff like that when…” She cleared her throat, unable to explain her life to someone with his background. “You just don’t.”

Liberty Jones in ‘Sugar Daddy’ by Lisa Kleypas

‘Sugar Daddy’ by Lisa Kleypas

What I love about Liberty Jones is that she takes her responsibilities very seriously. She could have placed her younger sister in foster care when their mother died but she took the guardianship of her sister. She forgives Carrington even when she throws tantrum (as seen in this scene):

I went to the far end of the kitchen where my sister was standing. Her small face was tense and anxious, her hair comically wild like a troll doll’s. She looked as if she were going to cry. “Liberty…”

When you love a child, you forgive her before she can even ask. Basically you’ve already forgiven her for things she hasn’t even done yet. “It’s okay,” I murmured, reaching for her. “It’s okay, baby.”

Carrington rushed forward, her skinny arms closing tight around me. “I’m sorry,” she said tearfully. “I didn’t mean the stuff I said, any of it—.”

“I know.”

Clare Abshire in ‘The Time Traveler’s Wife’ by Audrey Niffenegger

‘The Time Traveler’s Wife’ by Audrey Niffenegger

Although this story has a science fiction element (time-travelling) in its plot, in essence it is a love story that is relatable. I love Clare’s strength in dealing with Henry’s curse – she’s so patient and loyal. She believes in fate and doesn’t want to change its course even though she could (by choosing another man).

Penelope Featherington in ‘Romancing Mister Bridgerton’ by Julia Quinn

‘Romancing Mister Bridgerton’ by Julia Quinn

Penelope is intelligent and independent unlike other women in that era. She is unfazed by what society thinks of her and does not mind poking fun at herself. I love it when Colin realised that Penelope is a truly wonderful woman:

She was amazing. He didn’t know how he hadn’t realized it before, when he’d already known that she was smart and lovely and witty and resourceful. But all those adjectives, and a whole host more he hadn’t yet thought of, did not add up to the true measure of her.

She was amazing.

Rionna McDonald in ‘Never Love a Highlander’ by Maya Banks

‘Never Love a Highlander’ by Maya Banks

Rionna is not a dainty lass; she knows how to wield a sword. She is willing to sacrifice her life to ensure the safety of her beloved. One of my favourite lines from the book indicates her humbleness:

“I wish I could say I thought of all that just before I thrust my sword through Cameron’s back, but ’tis the truth, my only aim was to prevent him from killing my husband,” she said ruefully.

Forgive me for not including Jane Eyre (‘Jane Eyre’), Emma Woodhoouse (‘Emma’), Daisy Devreaux (‘Kiss an Angel’), Evangeline “Evie” Jenner (‘A Devil in Winter’), Meredith Bancroft (‘Paradise’) and Danika (‘Bad Things’, ‘Rock Bottom’ & ‘Lovely Trigger’). They were already heavily featured in my previous Top Ten Tuesday posts.

What have you selected for today’s topic? Share your list of favourite heroines in the comment box below.

Top Ten Things I Like & Dislike When It Comes to Romances in Books

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are mine and do not necessarily reflect those of SS Readers Corner.

Tuesday is my favourite day to blog because of #TopTenTuesday. Valentine’s Day is just around the corner so this week’s topic is all about ❤ – ‘Top Ten Things I Like & Dislike When It Comes to Romances in Books’.

Things I Like When It Comes to Romances in Books

  • Great character growth

A great example of a romance novel that features this point is ‘Kiss An Angel’ by Susan Elizabeth Phillips. At the start of the book, Daisy Devreaux was a flighty socialite who had money problems. To solve the problem, her father coerced her into marrying a brooding circus worker named Alex Markov. As the story progressed, her views on hard work & money changed:

“I found all kinds of thrift stores and second-hand shops in the towns we’ve visited. Do you know I’d never been in a Wal-Mart until two weeks ago? It’s amazing how far you can stretch a dollar if you’re careful, and-“

Alex too changed over the course of the book. The no-nonsense and uptight hero started to lighten up and became affectionate as he spent more time with his wife.

“It figures,” she grumbled through her own smile. “Alex Markov finally laughs, and it’s at my expense.”

I cannot stop raving about this book so I collect relevant pins. If I’m in mood for a familiar love story, this is my go-to book.

One of the many covers for ‘Kiss an Angel’

  • Tender/intimate gestures

When there are many intimate gestures in a love story, it makes the romance more believable. I was pleasantly surprised by Cora Reilly’s ‘Bound by Honor’ because of emotional intensity of Aria’s and Luca’s love. There was a sexual tension between them but they took time to develop their relationship. Ms Reilly used many non-sexual gestures to build up their romance, for example:

I wasn’t sure why but I reached out and put my hand on his leg. His eyes snapped toward me briefly, then he covered my hand with his until he needed it to shift gears again.

He traced my lips with his thumb, then brushed my cheek.

I just swoon whenever these gestures are present. I try to find relevant pins for my Pinterest board about this novel.

‘Bound by Honor’ by Cora Reilly

  • Successful heroines

I grew up listening to Destiny’s Child and one of my favourite songs is ‘Independent Women, Pt. 1.’ I love a romance book or movie that features a successful career woman. One of my favourite established heroines is Anne Calhoun‘s Lacey in ‘Liberating Lacey’.

“I take care of me, Hunter.” Now she sounded as flat as he did. “I make my own money. There are very few men in this city who out-earn me and I have a very large trust fund, leaving me with a very small pool from which to choose if my goal were a man who could support me. I married for love the first time and if I marry again, it will be for the same reason. Never for money.”

I feel empowered just by reading that paragraph.

‘Liberating Lacey’ by Anne Calhoun

Continue reading

Top Ten Books I Can’t Believe I Haven’t Read From Romance Genre

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are mine and do not necessarily reflect those of SS Readers Corner. This post contains spoilers so kindly skim it to avoid too much information.

Top Ten Tuesday is an original meme started by The Broke and the Bookish. Every week there is a specific bookish topic, which will be discussed and shared among bloggers.

Today’s topic is about books that a blogger cannot believe s/he has not read in a particular genre. Since I am an avid fan of romance novels, here are my top ten romances books that I cannot believe I haven’t read.

‘Pride & Prejudice’ by Jane Austen

I have seen so many adaptations (movies, BBC tv series & even webseries) but somehow I just don’t feel the urge to read its original source. Any tips?

One of the many book covers for ‘Pride and Prejudice’

‘Wuthering Heights’ by Emily Brontë

I have not read the book nor watched any adaptations. I would be more willing to read the book if I had watched a good movie adaptation. What’s the best adaptation of ‘Wuthering Heights’?

One of the many covers for ‘Wuthering Heights’

‘Romeo & Juliet’ by William Shakespeare

I enjoy Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo & Juliet but I think the suicidal pact is silly. Juliet was too young to sacrifice her life to be with her ‘true’ love.

‘One of the many book covers for ‘Romeo & Juliet’

‘Fifty Shades’ trilogy by E.L. James

I don’t mind reading erotic romance but I steer away from bad writing. I manage to avoid these books since the trilogy went mainstream in 2012. However I wouldn’t mind watching the movie though I wish Charlie Hunnam had stayed on to play Christian Grey.

Perhaps the most talked about book in romance genre

‘Tangled’ by Emma Chase

I’ve had this book in my ‘To be read’ list ever since it won Goodreads Choice for Debut Author in 2013. I bought a cheaper copy online last month – I couldn’t wait to read it. I have high expectations!

‘Tangled’ by Emma Chase

‘The Edge of Always’ by J.A. Redmerski

I couldn’t wait for the sequel after reading ‘The Edge of Never’. It’s been almost two years since ‘The Edge of Always’ was published but I always contemplate buying a copy. I’m afraid of disappointment.

‘The Edge of Always’ by J.A. Redmerski

‘Breakable’ by Tammara Webber

I purchased a copy last August but I still haven’t read it. New adult books tend to focus a lot on angst. I’m waiting for the right mood to strike.

‘Breakable’ by Tammara Webber

‘Entice’ by Ella Frank

I simply love ‘Exquisite’, the first book in a trilogy by Ella Frank. Her writing is so brilliant that I was hooked from the start till the end of the novel. What delays me from reading book #2? The price of a paperback copy – it’s twice the cost of a mass-market paperback novel. Fret not, I will read once I the trilogy!

Newer cover for ‘Entice’ by Ella Frank

‘Gone Too Far’ by Suzanne Brockmann

I love reading Sam Starrett and Alyssa Locke’s interactions in books 2, 3 & 4 of Ms Brockmann’s Troubleshooter series. I’ve read reviews of ‘Gone Too Far’ (yay for happy ending) but haven’t had time to read books 1 & 5.

‘Gone too far’ by Suzanne Brockmann

‘Mine Till Midnight’ by Lisa Kleypas

I bought this copy because of the cameos by Sebastian St. Vincent and Evie Jenner (they are one of my favourite book couples). Will pick up this book when I feel like reading meatier romance.

‘Mine Till Midnight’ by Lisa Kleypas

What do you think of my selection? Which books make into your list of books you couldn’t believe you haven’t read? Share your link below and I’ll visit your entry.

The DUFF: Coming to cinemas near you

Another young adult book is adapted for the big screen. ‘The Duff’ is based on a book titled ‘The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend’ by Kody Keplinger’. Here is how the story goes:

Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper is cynical and loyal, and she doesn’t think she’s the prettiest of her friends by a long shot. She’s also way too smart to fall for the charms of man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush. In fact, Bianca hates him. And when he nicknames her “the Duff,” she throws her Coke in his face.

But things aren’t so great at home right now, and Bianca is desperate for a distraction. She ends up kissing Wesley. Worse, she likes it. Eager for escape, Bianca throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with him.

Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out Wesley isn’t such a bad listener, and his life is pretty screwed up, too. Suddenly Bianca realizes with absolute horror that she’s falling for the guy she thought she hated more than anyone.

‘The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend’ by Kody Koplinger

The movie stars Mae Whitman and Robbie Amell and is expected to be released in US cinemas on 20th of February 2015. It will be released in Malaysia tentatively on 9th of April 2015. For a sneak peak, watch the trailer below.

For more news, visit the official link of the movie.

Sydney Author Event – 29th November 2014

If you enjoy reading romance novels and are based in Australia, check out this author event. Sydney Author Event is a great chance for you to meet & chat with more than 20 Romance authors. Here are the details of the event:

Date: 29th November 2014
Venue: The Ivy Sunroom,
330 George Street, Sydney 2000
Sessions: (i) AM (9 am – 12:30 pm),
(ii) PM (1:30 pm – 5 pm)
(iii) After Party (8 pm till late)
Attending authors:

Tickets for the meet and greet sessions during the day are sold out. However there are still tickets for the after party cruise. Get your ticket(s) to the after party here.

For more details on the event, visit the link, Facebook page and/or Twitter.

‘Far from the Madding Crowd’: from book to the big screen

Another classic novel is being filmed: ‘Far from the Madding Crowd’ by Thomas Hardy. Here is a synopsis of the story:

Independent and spirited Bathsheba Everdene has come to Weatherbury to take up her position as a farmer on the largest estate in the area. Her bold presence draws three very different suitors: the gentleman-farmer Boldwood, soldier-seducer Sergeant Troy and the devoted shepherd Gabriel Oak. Each, in contrasting ways, unsettles her decisions and complicates her life, and tragedy ensues, threatening the stability of the whole community. The first of his works set in Wessex, Hardy’s novel of swift passion and slow courtship is imbued with his evocative descriptions of rural life and landscapes, and with unflinching honesty about sexual relationships.

One of many book covers for ‘Far from the Madding Crowd’ by Thomas Hardy

Thomas Vinterberg, who directed the critically-acclaimed Danish movie ‘The Hunt’, helms this project. The script is written by David Nicholls, a well-known British author and screenplay writer. Cast includes Carey Mulligan, Michael Sheen, Juno Temple, Matthias Schoenaerts and Tom Sturridge. The film will be shown in cinemas on 1st of May 2015. 

For more updates on the film, visit the Facebook page.

‘Eleanor & Park’: book-to-movie adaptation is in the works

There is another YA fiction that will be adapted for the big screen: ‘Eleanor & Park’ by Rainbow Rowell. Dreamworks has bought film rights to the novel and plans to start shooting the movie next year. Guess what? Ms Rowell will write the screenplay.

For those who are not familiar with ‘Eleanor & Park’, here is a brief synopsis of the book:

Two misfits.
One extraordinary love.

Eleanor… Red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough…Eleanor.

Park… He knows she’ll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs at her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There’s a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep promises…Park.

Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.

‘Eleanor & Park’ by Rainbow Rowell

My favourite online educator (pssst I love CrashCourse!) is also excited about this movie!

I must admit that I haven’t read any of Ms Rowell’s work. Now I am more intrigued about the book after reading the news and finding out that the lead characters are not your typical American teenagers in the 80s (guy is half-Korean while girl is a plus-size). I am going to ask Mr Sam (SS Readers Corner owner) to stock the store with Rainbow Rowell’s books.

What are your favourites? In addition to ‘Eleanor & Parks’, what other titles should we buy for the store?

Ten Books For Readers Who Like Character Driven Novels

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are mine and do not necessarily reflect those of SS Readers Corner. This post contains spoilers so kindly skim it if you don’t want too know in detail.

I love publishing a post on Tuesday because of The Broke and The Bookish‘s ‘Top Ten Tuesday‘. It is a weekly meme/feature that encourages bloggers to discuss about books. Today’s topic is ‘Ten Books For Readers Who Like Character Driven Novels’.

At first, I had trouble coming out with a list of character-driven books because I wasn’t sure of the characteristics. I consulted my best friend Google, who suggested this link for clarification. Once I had understood the difference between character-driven and plot-driven, I came out with this list. 🙂

Strong-willed women in Victorian era

Character-driven classic romance

‘Jane Eyre’ & ‘Emma’

‘Jane Eyre’ by Charlotte Brontë

Jane Eyre is one of many fictional characters that I admire. Despite her low social status, she is independent and intelligent. She possesses a strong sense of self-worth and dignity, as indicated in this quote:

“Do you think, because I am poor, obscure, plain and little, I am soulless and heartless? You think wrong! – I have as much soul as you, – and full as much heart! And if God had gifted me with some beauty and much wealth, I should have made it as hard for you to leave me, as it is now for me to leave you!”

Furthermore, Jane is unwilling to compromise her beliefs and principle. I really like it that when Jane found out about Bertha Mason, she would not lower herself to the part of a mistress so she left Mr Rochester. As fate would have it, Jane and Mr Rochester were reunited at the end.

‘Emma’ by Jane Austen

At the start of the novel, I did not like Emma because she was self-conceited, spoilt and immature. Despite her shortcomings, I like that she was uninterested in looking out for a husband of her own. She made a few errors in judgement but with the guidance of and advices from Mr Knightley and Harriet Smith, she learned from those mistakes and became a responsible lady. I also like that Emma’s love interest is present right from the very beginning of the story, as opposed to that romantic hero in ‘Pride and Prejudice’. He had always been there for Emma.

Marriage of convenience

‘Devil in Winter’ & ‘Kiss an Angel’

‘Devil in Winter’ by Lisa Kleypas

This book is one of my favourite re-reads. If you have read ‘It Happened One Autumn’ (book #2 in Wallflowers series), you would know that Sebastian St Vincent is a selfish womaniser. In ‘Devil in Winter’ (book #3), Sebastian and Evangeline “Evie” Jenner agreed to a marriage of convenience. It was a pleasant surprise to read how Sebastian became a better man. I just love the quote below because it indicates that Evie noticed the change in him and wanted to take their marriage to the next level:

“Life was too uncertain to waste time. There was no guarantee that Sebastian would be faithful to her. She had nothing but hope—and the instinct that although the man she had initially married was not deserving of such faith, the man he was becoming just might be.”

If you’d like to find out more about Sebastian’s transformation without reading the book, click here.

‘Kiss an Angel’ by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Daisy Devreaux was a flighty rich girl who was forced into marrying a no-nonsense circus worker named Alex Markov. Despite her flaws, Daisy had a big heart and likeable personality. Even though she has never worked hard before, her time in the circus has taught her to be hard working and appreciative of the value of money (as showed in the quote below):

“I’m not making any long-term predictions. One day at a time is the most I can manage right now.” She caught her bottom lip between her teeth and frowned. “All I know is that I have to do this.”

“Daisy, it’s too much work.”

“I know.” She smiled. “That’s why I have to do it.”

I just enjoy everything about this book: character growth, the plot, the humour and even the circus setting. ‘Kiss an Angel’ is another book that I enjoy reading repeatedly.

A single woman in a modern world

'P.S. I Love You' & 'Bridget Jones's Diary'

‘P.S. I Love You’ & ‘Bridget Jones’s Diary’

‘P.S. I Love You’ by Cecelia Ahern

I choose this novel because of the way the author sets up the character to grow emotionally. I love it that Gerry sets monthly tasks for Holly in his love letters. It was really tough facing life after the death of a loved one. However Holly had the support of her family and friends. It was a pleasure to read Holly transforms from a naïve, husband-dependent young woman to a woman ready to face any life challenges.

If you would like to read Gerry’s love letters, visit this link. My favourite letter is the fourth one. ❤

‘Bridget Jones’s Diary’ by Helen Fielding

I haven’t read the book yet but have watched the movie. Hence I’m evaluating the book based on the movie.

‘Bridget Jones’s Diary’ is relatable – Bridget is a normal everyday woman who struggles with her weight, smoking, drinking and men. I first watched the movie when I had self-esteem issues so I could identify with her character. Yes, ‘Bridget Jones’s Diary’ is fluffy but it does teach readers/movie-goers one important lesson: to truly accept yourself. That line spoken by Mark Darcy “I like you very much. Just as you are.” shows that people who really love you will accept you regardless of your flaws.

Coming of age tales

'The Perks of Being a Wallflower' & 'About a Boy'

‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower’ & ‘About a Boy’

‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower’ by Stephen Chbosky

The book was a speedy read (two days) for me yet it was rich and thought-provoking. It was great to read Charlie grew from a socially-awkward introspective teenager to a more participative and not-so-shy young man. ‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower’ touches on issues such as social belonging, first love, peer pressure, familial relationship, student-teacher relationship and even mental health. The epilogue left me gobsmacked and I am not going to divulge more!

Plus points: As an avid music lover, it excites me that Mr Chbosky made a playlist of songs for Charlie. Another thumbs up to the author for making book references.

‘About a Boy’ by Nick Hornby

I shall write based on my movie experience since I haven’t read the original source. The movie, which starred Hugh Grant, Nicholas Hoult and Toni Collette, was well-made.

This story shows that age does not define maturity. Will, a 30-something man, thinks he is cool and acts like a college boy. Marcus is a 12-year old boy who has an old soul. Despite their different personalities, I like the interactions between both characters because they learned so much from each other.

Multiple character arcs

'Lord of the Flies' & 'The Lord of the Ring'

‘Lord of the Flies’ & ‘The Lord of the Ring’

‘Lord of the Flies’ by William Golding

If you like observing/learning about group behaviour, then this book is a fine example. ‘Lord of the Flies’ is about a group of schoolboys who were deserted on an island after a plane crash and had to survive on their own. There are 3 characters (Ralph, Jack and Piggy) that readers could analyse and compare based on their leadership potential. Ralph was elected as leader because of his charisma and likeability. Jack wasn’t happy with Ralph’s promotion so he formed his own group to rule. Piggy was intellectual but due to his unfavourable physical appearance (overweight, spectacles-wearing), other boys overlooked his opinions.

As the story progresses, readers learn more about their characteristics and leadership capabilities. I was shocked by the twist and the ending left me unsatisfied. Nevertheless, the book was a good read and deserves a space in my bookshelf.

‘The Lord of the Rings’ by J. R. R. Tolkien

I have only seen the movies therefore I’m using them as a guide. ‘The Lord of the Rings’ is a good example to study multiple characters. What I like about Frodo is that he took his responsibility very seriously. He had never gone out of his hometown before nor been in a life-or-death situation. Yet he willingly accepted the risky challenge despite his limitations. My favourite character in the movies is Aragorn. Despite being an heir to the throne of Gondor, he was unfazed by the title. He had a pure heart and wasn’t tempted to steal the ring for his own use. As the plot thickens, Aragorn became comfortable with his royal identity and led an army of men to defeat enemies in Mordor.

If you’d like to learn more about ‘LOTR’ archetypes, visit this link.

Do you agree with my choice of character-driven novels? Perhaps you could recommend me your favourite character-driven books. Feel free to share your comments and/or links in the box below.

Top Ten Books That Were Hard For Me To Read

The Broke and the Bookish hosts a weekly meme called ‘Top Ten Tuesday‘. It aims to: 1) encourage people to talk about books and 2) introduce book-loving bloggers to one another. Today’s topic of discussion is ‘Top ten books that were hard for me to read’.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are mine and do not necessarily reflect those of SS Readers Corner.

The books that I have selected are based on grouped together based on these reasons: 1) peculiar storyline, 2) disturbing content and 3) unlikeable characters. Kindly take note that this post contains spoilers so skim it if you don’t want too many details.

Peculiar storyline

Books that are difficult to read because of the peculiar plot

Tough reads due to the plot

‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’ by Gabriel García Márquez

I took up Intermediate level of Spanish Studies at university. My teacher was very passionate about Latin American culture (she’s a New Zealander) and as a student, I find that inspiring. However I wasn’t happy when we were told to analyse this book for a written examination at the end of semester. Oh, did I mention that the examination was in Spanish?

The story was long-winded and the family saga was exhausting. The names are frequently repeated in many generations; I got confused even where there was a family tree diagram in the foreword. I didn’t finish the book but I passed my exam. Despite not liking the story, I bought an English copy just in case I feel like reading it one day.

‘Kafka on the Shore’ by Haruki Murakami

I read many good reviews about this book. I’ve never read any of the author’s works so I decided to try. Personally, I’m glad the book was borrowed not purchased.

This is the most bizarre book I’ve read…ever! There were so many characters that are supposed to be connected to each other but I couldn’t understand the connections. Certain scenes seem unnecessary such as cat torture and sex scenes with a minor. It was a mess!

Disturbing content

Tough reads due to disturbing content

Tough reads due to the content

‘The Surgeon’ by Tess Gerritsen

Tess Gerritsen used to be a physician but now writes novels.  I decided to read this novel because I have never read a medical thriller before.

I had a tough time reading the book because the villain was a sadistic rapist and killer. The crimes were minutely described so readers could definitely feel the victims’ suffering. Despite the brutality of the crimes, it was an enjoyable read because the story was well-written. I will most certainly continue reading this book series.

‘Accidentally on Purpose’ by L.D. Davis

I really enjoy reading contemporary romance and I must say that this is one of my favourite books.

I don’t like it when a person cheats on his/her partner. Despite the infidelity, I was sympathetic to Emmy because of the abuse she endured from her lover. At the start of the story, Emmy was a witty, independent woman but after the abuse, those qualities vanished. She didn’t think she deserved happiness. Emmy slowly healed with the help of friends and family and got her happy ending. The next book in the series is based on the abusive lover’s point of view. I am conflicted about reading his side of the story.

‘The Coincidence of Callie and Kayden’ by Jessica Sorensen

I read this book when I was in ‘New Adult’ book binge. This is one of my favourite books in that genre.

This book was difficult to read because of the subject matter. Both main characters were abused; Callie was raped at a young age while Kayden was beaten by his own father. They are tormented by their pasts and their coping behaviours are just too troubling. Well I’m glad that they were friends first before becoming lovers because building trust takes time. They don’t live happily ever after at the end of the book. There is a cliffhanger, which I think is appropriate for such traumatising story.

‘The Lovely Bones’ by Alice Sebold

I bought this book when I found out that a movie was going to be made. Did you know that Ryan Gosling was set to play Mr Salmon until he had some creative differences with the director Peter Jackson?

Anyway ‘The Lovely Bones’ was a tough read because of the tragedy that befell Susie Salmon. She was attacked and murdered by someone she knew and that happened in the beginning of the story. Hence the novel/movie is told from Susie’s point of view in the afterlife. It is devastating to read the impact of Susie’s death on her family. Oh I had one issue with that body-swapping scene at the end. That’s just weird and unnecessary.

Unlikeable character(s)


Tough reads due to the characters

‘Anna Karenina’ by Leo Tolstoy

I watched ‘Anna Karenina’ starring Keira Knightley, Jude Law and Aaron Johnson-Taylor and the movie confirms one thing: Keira Knightley cannot act. Her acting is appalling! I am considering reading the book.

However I think this book would be difficult to read because it is a very long book (about 800-1000 pages depending on the publisher/edition). I am afraid of losing interest once I start a few chapters. Another hesitation is due to the main character. In the movie, Anna is very unlikable. I can’t imagine myself spending so much time on such character.

‘Lolita’ by Vladimir Nabokov

I watched ‘Lolita’ the 1962 movie and I understand why the book is highly controversial even till this day.

I think this book would be difficult to read because of the subject matter. Paedophilia is not acceptable even if the minor says that it is “true” love. Humbert Humbert shows no remorse for his immoral behaviour. The movie was ambiguous about their sexual relationship but I think the book is more descriptive. I will only read this if my book club chooses the book. At least the discussion could be therapeutic.

‘New Moon’ by Stephenie Meyer

Speaking of paedophilia, would you consider Edward Cullen a paedophile? Despite the youthful appearance, he is more than 100 years old. Putting that issue aside, I actually like ‘Twilight’ (I own a copy :P) and that’s about it.

I cannot stand the second book in the series because I felt like strangling Bella majority of the time. I understand that she is afraid of growing old while her true love remains a teenager forever. But must she make a life-altering decision at such a young age? When Edward refuses to comply to her wishes, he vanishes and leaves her heartbroken. Jacob Black helps Bella recover from the breakup and during that period of recovery, Bella sees the possibility of turning the friendship into something more. Then Bella gets confused. Come on, girl…make up your mind! If you are torn between two options, then stay single!

‘We Need to Talk about Kevin’ by Lionel Shriver

I am a huge fan of Tilda Swinton ever since I watched ‘Constantine’. She is a brilliant chameleon, from acting to fashion. There are so many praises for the book and movie. Since I love book-to-movie adaptations, I decided to read the original source before watching the movie.

This book was a gruelling read. First, the main character Eva Khatchadourian uses sophisticated words because I believe she has a superiority complex. I checked my Dictionary app whenever I encountered “big” words. Half-way through the book, I stopped using the app because it disrupted my flow of reading. Secondly, I was puzzled with Eva’s lack of connection with her son, Kevin. Why didn’t she get any help/counselling when she had doubts/suspicions about Kevin? Despite all the negativity, the book was thought-provoking for example “Who is to blame for Kevin’s atrocious behaviours?” Eva, Kevin, Franklin or all three?

What do you think of my list of ‘Top Ten Tough Reads’? What books do you find strenuous to read? I’d love to read your picks so just share them (or a link to your blog) in the comment box below.

Harlequin Reader Party on 25th October 2014

Harlequin is throwing an exclusive Romance reader party in Seattle, Washington USA in October. This is an opportunity for fans of romance novels to meet, chat & have lunch with 12 amazing authors. Here are some details:

Date: 25th of October 2014
Time: 10 am – 3:30 pm
Venue: Hilton Seattle Airport & Convention Center – Click here for a map of the hotel
Tickets: US$11 for limited access or US$55 for full VIP access (includes lunch, free books & much more!)
Attending authors: 

Those who are interested to attend are strongly encouraged to get your tickets a.s.a.p. There are only 8 VIP tickets allocated to each author’s table. These tables are sold out: Susan Mallery, Lauren Dane, BJ Daniels, Susan Wiggs & Susan Andersen.

Harlequin Reader Party on 25th of October 2014 in Seattle

For more details on the event, visit the link, Facebook page and/or Twitter.