I will be moving to Wordpress.com on October 1! My new URL will be exploringbystarlight.wordpress.com.

Reluctant Hiatus

I really didn't want to have to do this, but I'm going to put this blog on hiatus. I've been having way too many negative thoughts about blogging recently and it hasn't been making me happy (my pageviews have been incredibly low recently. I know that people say that blogging isn't about followers and pageviews, but when I'm putting tons of work into posts that only get 12 views, it's disheartening), and I feel like the best way to deal with those thoughts is to just step back for a while.

I also have had a serious lack of motivation for the past few months, not just with blogging, but with everything. I barely even read anymore because I don't have much time to while I'm out of the house, and when I get home, all I want to do is watch something mind-numbing on TV. And on top of this, my laptop broke again so I'm having to use my desktop, which has a slow connection anyway, but the wi-fi in our house has been a complete mess. A five minute post would now take me half an hour because of the connection.

I'm not sure when I'll be back, but I aim to come back in the summer when I've finished with university for the year, and maybe I'll even have re-branded by then (that's a big hope though, because I'm going to Disneyland this summer). But I'm not leaving for definite! Not in a million years, I love this community way too much to just completely leave.

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The Fairytale Survey

Recently I've been really liking tags and surveys (I haven't done many myself, but I always like reading them), and I remembered this survey that Mel @ The Daily Prophecy created, and even better, it's based on fairy tales! So without further ado, here is the Fairytale Survey!
You can view Mel's original post HERE.

Part 1: Classic Princesses

Pinocchio - the boy whose nose grows when he lies
Is there are book you lie about, because you feel ashamed for liking it? 
Nope! I don't believe in guilty pleasures and I never feel ashamed for liking things that are essentially harmless i.e. books, music, movies, video games etc.

Beauty and the Beast – The girl who fell in love with personality. 
Which book do you love that has a hideous cover? 
It's not hideous, just downright cheesy, but Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins has a pretty cheesy cover.

Snow White – Hunted down for her beauty. 
Do you ever buy a book based on the cover alone and if so, what is the last one? 
I don't usually, but the most recent book I bought based on cover alone was Deep Blue by Jennifer Donnelly (I still haven't read it yet).

Sleeping Beauty – Cursed to sleep, awakened by true loves kiss. 
What is your favorite book couple? 
Either Kat and Daemon from the Lux series (so much chemistry, I can't even deal) or Alek and Deryn from the Leviathan series.

Little Mermaid – Gave up on her old life for love. 
Do you ever branch out to new genres or do you like to stick with the ones you know and love? If you try new things out, what is the latest book? 
I do like branching out, but I will always end up back in my comfort zones. The last time I tried something different was when I read Shadow and Bone because high fantasy has never really been my thing.

Cinderella – Who lost her shoe after midnight. 
What is the last book that made you stay up all night? 
I'm having a hard time remembering, but I think it was Ellie Jordan, Ghost Trapper by J.L. Bryan.

Rapunzel – locked up in a tower. 
What is the worst books you’ve read last month? 
Her Mad Hatter by Marie Hall. For a book that's supposed to be steamy and sexy, and all that jazz, there was a distinct lack of sexual stuff. Like seriously, there was one sex scene in the whole thing and if it had happened in real time, it would've lasted two minutes. And I feel bad because a friend of mine recommended it to me.

Part 2: Mix-Match

Aladdin – The poor boy who found a genie. 
What is the latest book treasure/gem you found? 
I couldn't really think of one because I've been pretty indifferent towards a lot of things lately.

Alice in Wonderland – The girl who fell through a rabbit’s hole. 
Which book made you really feel like you landed in another world? 
Either Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld, or Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo. Although I will side with Leviathan more because I have finished that series and it's the best ever.

East of the Sun and West of the Moon – where a girl embarks on a journey to save her love. 
Who is one of your favorite kick-ass heroines? 
Deryn from Leviathan, duh! Even though she is masquerading as a boy, she's totally herself. And she does have a few more stereotypically 'feminine' moments when it comes to Alek, but that's okay because even the least feminine of girls get woozy around people they like at times.

The Frog Prince – where an enchanted prince becomes human again.
What is a book you thought you would hate, but end up loving?
I really couldn't think of anything for this, because I don't really go into books thinking that I'll hate them.

Hansel and Gretel – left alone in the woods and captured by a witch.
Which duo (sister/sister, brother/sister) is your favorite and why?
Probably Sam and Patrick from The Perks of Being a Wallflower because they're the only brother/sister duo I could think of. Even though they're step-siblings.

Little Red Riding Hood – almost eaten by a wolf dressed as her grandmother.
What book disappointed you after falling in love with the cover and blurb?
Open Road Summer by Emery Lord. The amount of girl hate in that book was just beyond ridiculous.

Rumpelstilskin – nobody knows his name.
Which book do you love that doesn’t get enough attention?
Am I allowed to say Leviathan for a fourth time?

What would some of your picks be?

Life of a Blogger: Favourite Bands + Artists

Life of a Blogger is a weekly meme hosted by Jessi from Novel Heartbeat, where we talk about what we do when we're not reading.
This week's topic:

I told myself that the next time a freebie topic rolled around, I would talk about music since the only time that I have was when the topic was favourite music albums, and so here I am to list my favourite bands and artists. In alphabetical order. For some reason. And I was planning on putting playlists or links to YouTube in this post, but that was just way too much effort and my internet just didn't want to do that.. And I've also experimented with a new graphic style. Yes, they're animated. Would you expect any less of me?

Why Do We Read?

Because I'm an English student, I study quite a few books as well as reading them for my own leisure, and a thing I've noticed is that I either end up absolutely despising the books (i.e. anything by James Joyce) or I just end up feeling a bit indifferent to them (i.e. Shakespeare and Arthur Miller's works). Recently, a friend of mine asked me why I hate The Great Gatsby so much. My reasons for not liking Gatsby, or any books like it, is because I don't think there's much in the way of story. There's tons of symbolism and meanings that go incredibly deep, which is all fine and well because I can appreciate some good symbols, but the events that take place just bored me so, so much, and I ended my reasoning with "that's not why I read".

I read because I want to escape; I want to be completely sucked into a story that takes me somewhere else where I don't have to think way too much. That's why I don't like Modernist books: I don't want to be completely bombarded with symbols and imagery and allegories and pretty much every single other literary technique that I can think of. Books like that are too "artsy" for me. I can appreciate a good piece of art like a painting, or a building, or maybe even an art house movie if I'm feeling particularly pretentious. But I don't read books for their artistic reputation and that's also why I'm not much of a classics reader. In fact, my favourite classic books are actually works of genre fiction: they tell fantastic stories, but can still be picked apart and studied. Studying Frankenstein didn't put me off it at all. Getting to read books like that for study feels like a treat for me, because everything else just puts me to sleep.

(image source)
However, there's absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to read only books that have an artistic reputation or are considered to be "literary greats". If people want to read those books then that's their decision because I can't change what people like to read and I won't put people down for that. Everybody likes different things and for different reasons. It's like my mum says: if we were all the same, the world would be boring. Besides, we're all readers and we're all reading. There's no right or wrong way to do it, whether you like to read more classics or more YA, or even if you like using an eReader. Reading is still reading, whatever someone's reason as to why they do it.

Tell me, why do you read?

Tag: Burn, Re-Write, or Re-Read?

I was tagged for this by the fabulous Meg @ Adrift on Vulcan, and I have seen this tag before over on the BookTubes (I think I saw Katytastic's video, but I'm not sure), so I'm excited to do this tag too!
The gist of the game is to randomly select three books from your Goodreads 'read' shelf, and then decide which you would burn, which you would re-write, and which you would re-read. Simple, right? Because I'm a dirty cheater and have done a lot of reading for school, I've taken out children's fiction, plays, non-fiction, and short stories. Let's get started!
Round 1
Burn: The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner

I had to read this book for a language module I did in my first year of university, and I'm genuinely surprised that I managed to make it all the way through. I don't mind it when books have more unique narrative styles, but when there's four on the go and the chapters take like four hours to read, it all gets too much. There's one chapter where the character is having a huge mental breakdown and the sentences just run on and on into each other with no punctuation or anything to separate it up. I realise that it's artistic and represents the mental process, but it was just way too much.
Re-write: Dracula by Bram Stoker

Dracula is one of my favourite books of all time, but it's obviously not without it's faults. The biggest thing that I'm not keen on is the way Mina writes her diary entries and letters, and the way that she speaks to other characters. It feels like Bram Stoker's way of saying "this character is a woman", and it feels really flowery. Not to the point of it being purple, but it's pretty flowery. I think I'd also put in more of Dracula himself, but the fact that you don't really see him makes him just a bit more spooky.

Re-read: Goliath by Scott Westerfeld

This book, no, this whole series is perfect. It deserves all the re-reads!
Round 2

Burn: The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka

Oh, look: another book I had to study! I couldn't stand this book when I studied it, I honestly thought it was the worst thing I'd ever read (and then I read James Joyce one year later). I might have established this before, but I absolutely hate Modernist books. I really do. They're too arty-farty for me because they focus so much on style and technique rather than plot. And it doesn't really help that this was translated into English from German, so all of the run-on sentences go on for even longer. Gah, kill it with fire.

Re-write: Divergent by Veronica Roth

I liked Divergent, but the pacing was just not right for me. The beginning was boring and tedious, then the middle got a bit more exciting, and then the end just came out of nowhere. And I also thought that the world-building was really lacking. I didn't know shit about the world or why these people have been put into these factions that are based on vague personality traits. I've actually been told that that's the point to the books: the characters don't know either. But that doesn't mean that I have to like it. So I'd definitely expand on the world-building a lot more and fix up the pacing.
Re-read: Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake

I liked Anna Dressed in Blood more than I liked Girl of Nightmares, but it's still a solid series concluder. I still have yet to read any YA horrors that are like this series, so I'd definitely give this series a re-read if I'm ever in the mood for a lot of blood.
Round 3

Burn: Matched by Ally Condie

I really wanted to like this book, but it just didn't work for me. I didn't like Cassia as a character, and the way she narrated the story got on my nerves because something would be happening, and then she'd just completely go off topic and talk about Ky's status as an Aberration. I tried to read the second book, but nope, that one was even worse and I didn't finish it.

Re-write: Origin by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Okay, here's the weird thing: I really liked this book, and I love the Lux series. It's one of my favourites. But, there's a certain part of this book that I wish didn't happen. I'm not going to say what it is for the sake of spoilers, but that moment could have been saved for a possible epilogue in the last book (which I still have yet to read). But yeah, this book was so different to the first three that there were a few things that could have been done differently. It wasn't Mockingjay level different, but still pretty different.

Re-read: Landline by Rainbow Rowell

This book was just okay for me, mainly because I hadn't read any of Rainbow Rowell's adult books, but it wasn't terrible, so I'd probably read it again. The characters (especially Georgie) frustrated me quite a lot and I just wanted to physically shake one or two of them, but I can look past that. Sort of.
(Funny story about when I bought this book: even though I'm 19, I have a young face, so when I went to go buy Landline in the bookshop (I found it in the YA section, even though it's an adult book), the cashier warned me that it's for 'more mature readers' because it focuses on marriage. I read American Psycho when I was 16, so I was definitely old enough for Landline.)
Now comes the part that I really suck at: the tagging. Because I'm a dirty cheater, I tag... everyone! If you want to do this tag, feel free to do it, and just say that I tagged you!