review; poison

IMG_4336

Poison
by Bridget Zinn

Sixteen-year-old Kyra, a highly-skilled potions master, is the only one who knows her kingdom is on the verge of destruction—which means she’s the only one who can save it. Faced with no other choice, Kyra decides to do what she does best: poison the kingdom’s future ruler, who also happens to be her former best friend.

But, for the first time ever, her poisoned dart . . . misses.

Now a fugitive instead of a hero, Kyra is caught in a game of hide-and-seek with the king’s army and her potioner ex-boyfriend, Hal. At least she’s not alone. She’s armed with her vital potions, a too-cute pig, and Fred, the charming adventurer she can’t stop thinking about. Kyra is determined to get herself a second chance (at murder), but will she be able to find and defeat the princess before Hal and the army find her?

Review:
Continue reading “review; poison”

top ten; books i feel differently about

bookworm things

I am going to be very honest. This post was rushed together because I had a difficult time coming up with a list. I’ve read so many books over the years that looking back at them and wondering if I feel the same about them now as I did when I read them is just – not so simple. I’ve been second-guessing my choices, and then realising I don’t think I have ten books? So I’ve just put a quick short list of books that I feel differently about since I’ve read them.

Edit: I almost forgot to link this back to The Broke And The Bookish! Whoops.

top ten tuesday

  • The Harry Potter series. I still love it, that’s for sure, but over time, I have become a lot more critical about it. The lack of notable diversity in it definitely irks me whenever I think about it.
  • Tamora Pierce’s Circle Of Magic series, and some of her other works. The more I look back on it, the more I love her world-building. I want to read them ALL again. Or as many of them as I can get my hands on.
  • Jodi Picoult’s novel with her daughter? Between The Lines. I want to read the next book, that’s for sure, but now when I look back on it, I feel it was a lot more simplistic than I thought when I was reading it. I think I loved the concept of it more than I actually loved the writing of it.
  • I remember loving Just Ella when I read it, but now that I look back on it, I’m wondering if it’s as good as I remember. Maybe a reread is in order…
  • I have read Patricia C. Wrede’s Dragons series quite a few times since I first borrowed it from my cousins back when I was 11. I loved it back then, I loved it the second time around, I think I loved it even more the third time around.

So this was a quick list that’s now done! I had very few ideas on what to put on this list. Because I tend to feel the same for most things I read over the years, I guess. I should do a reread of some books…

What are books you feel differently about now when you look back on them?

2016-04-12 11:46

readings from the east

bookworm things

Growing up, I was definitely slightly biased AGAINST local authors. Considering the focus given to Western authors even by our teachers, this was not so much of a surprise. Even now I have a tendency to pick up novels written by Western authors, though I am a lot more critical about the representation in them.

Which is why I love the fact that Roshani Chokshi’s The Star Touched Queen is doing so well with readers and bloggers, and why I love how much people recommend Jenny Han’s books. I haven’t read either author (yet!) but they are both on my TBR and as soon as I am able, I’ll be reading their books.

But even then, both these authors grew up in the West. Unlike me. I find myself still having a hard time finding popular books by Eastern authors, and I cannot help but wonder just why that is.

open book

Books by Eastern authors tend to only be available in the East, which is a high shame. Now that I am aware of this discrepancy, I am trying to make a larger effort to support these authors. A friend recently picked up a copy of Wayne Ree’s Tales From A Tiny Room for me, a slim book of short stories that I devoured in no time. When books like that exist, why do I still hold an inability to actively search them down? Why do I still instinctively go to the big publisher names instead of supporting the Eastern authors?

It is definitely something I am trying to change. A couple of years ago, I got my hands on a couple of books by a popular Indian author Anuja Chauhan during a trip to India. The bookstore owner told me just how popular she was with the Indian public – but I had never heard of her until that very day. When I finished The Zoya Factor, I wondered just why that was. Yes, her books are based in India, and yes, they are highly influenced by the Indian lifestyle, but there is still something relatable there that I am sure could translate over continents.

Then why is she still so relatively unknown?

anuja chauhan2

I have recently discovered RunHideSeek, a YA trilogy written by Gabby Tye, a Singaporean teenager, that sounds just up my alley, but have been unable to find the novels anywhere outside of Singapore. While it is a little disappointing, on the one hand I am thrilled that Eastern authors are embracing the various genres and giving their own spin to it. I am sure this has been going on for a while now, and I am just glad that I am finally paying attention to it.

There is a whole world of fiction that I have yet to explore, a whole world I have unknowingly been keeping myself from encountering. No more. These characters resemble me, resemble the way I grew up – and maybe by falling in love with them, I can spread the love to other readers.

anuja chauhan

I’m going to be honest – I’m not actually trying to start a movement, but hey, if I can inspire a few people to pick up some books they might not actually? I’m counting it as a win.

So, tell me, would you be willing to read books written by Eastern authors? Would you be willing to try something that may be new to you? Or alternatively, have you read any books by Eastern authors that you can suggest I pick up?

2016-04-12 11:46

review; ravishing the heiress

IMG_4334

Ravishing The Heiress
by Sherry Thomas

Millicent understands the terms of her arranged marriage all too well. She gets to be a Countess by marrying an impoverished Earl. And in return, the Earl Fitzhugh receives the benefit of her vast wealth, saving his family from bankruptcy. Because of her youth, they have agreed to wait eight years before consummating the marriage–and then, only to beget an heir. After which, they will lead separate lives.

It is a most sensible arrangement. Except for one little thing. Somehow Millie has fallen head over heels in love with her husband. Her husband, who has become her very best friend, but nothing more… Her husband, who plans to reunite with his childhood sweetheart, the beautiful and newly widowed Isabella, as soon as he has honored the pact with his wife…

As the hour they truly become husband-and-wife draws near, both Millie and Fitzhugh must face the truth in their hearts. Has their pact bred only a great friendship – or has it, without either of them quite noticing, given rise to a great love?

Review:
Continue reading “review; ravishing the heiress”

top ten; books i picked up on a whim

bookworm things

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday category was pretty interesting. I don’t usually buy books ‘on a whim’, if I’m honest. When I buy books, I have a clear idea what I’m heading out to pick up. I usually save up for books, and then buy the books I’ve been wanting to read for a while.

But when it comes to the library? Erm, I’ve lost count of the times I’ve gone in for one book and come out with something else entirely. Usually because the book I wanted wasn’t in stock, but sometimes with the book I wanted, and a whole bunch of other books that just seemed interesting.

It’s a thing. I’m working on it. (Not really.)

top ten tuesday

Books I Own

There have been occasions when I’ve walked into a bookstore for something and walked out with something else. Or simply planned to browse and walked out with a book that seemed interesting. It does not happen often, but – it has happened.

I can’t say I regret these times.

the zoya factor

  • I don’t remember when I picked Entwined up, but I remember being attracted to the cover. It was SO PRETTY OMG, still one of my favourite book covers ever. On top of that, it was a fairytale reimagining? I ADORE FAIRYTALE REIMAGININGS. Pretty much every other story I pick up these days are fairytale reimaginings.
  • Okay, this one is a little bit of a cheat because I picked the first book of the Spellcaster series from the library. It was there, it seemed interesting, it had a pretty cover – I loved it so much I tracked it down in bookstores and bought the whole series.
  • The covers for Tales Of Beauty And Madness were so pretty? I loved the way they looked, the throwbacks to the fairytales they were based on. Every time I walked into the bookstore, I would wind up in front of them until I finally gave in and bought them. Worst impulse control ever. (Totally worth it!)
  • Okay, so technically The Zoya Factor was a recommendation. But considering the fact that it was the bookstore owner’s recommendation while I was at his stall buying something else, I think it fits this list. He told me it was a favourite with his customers, and he totally talked me into it. (It completely helped that books in India are relatively cheap. I was hard pressed not to come home with an entire bag full of just books.)
  • Teardrop had a very pretty cover. The synopsis was also interesting, so it was a complete impulse buy. (It was an okay read, but I never picked up book two…)

entwined

Books I Borrowed

The library is a magical place. That is honestly all.

  • The amount of times I picked Seraphina off the shelves and then put it back because hmm, is it really my thing? I wasn’t gonna but then I did because DRAGONS AND MUSIC AND I really need to get my hands on book two.
  • The cover for Plus One was so different and interesting that I could not resist. Really, resistance was completely futile so I didn’t even bother trying.
  • The synopsis for The Sweetest Spell mentioned chocolate. I was sold immediately.
  • Does the fact that I have loved the author’s other books invalidate my picking up the Skylark series on a whim? Because I definitely walked into the library for something else and walked out with the first book of this series… It’s all a blur.
  • It was a while ago, but when I came across a book with a title like The Unbearable Book Club For Unsinkable Girls, how could I really not have picked it up? And I’m glad I did, because this book? The reason I got back into reading again, the first book I reviewed when I started my tumblr book blog – really, without me picking up this book, this blog probably would never have existed!

book stack

So there you have it! Ten times my impulse overrode my common sense. Not that I regret any of it. Because I don’t. At all. I mean, why would I ever regret books?

What are some books you picked up on a whim? (I won’t even ask if you’ve done that because, pfft, point me towards a bookworm that hasn’t and I’ll call them a liar. Probably. Okay, maybe not to their face. I’m generally a nice person. I’ll probably just not believe you…) Link me to your lists! Or if you don’t have one, write out your lists below?

2016-04-12 11:46

review; a tale of time city

IMG_4156

A Tale Of Time City
by Diana Wynne Jones

London, 1939. Vivian Smith thinks she is being evacuated to the countryside, because of the war. But she is being kidnapped – out of her own time. Her kidnappers are Jonathan and Sam, two boys her own age, from a place called Time City, designed especially to oversee history. But now history is going critical, and Jonathan and Sam are convinced that Time City’s impending doom can only be averted by a twentieth-century girl named Vivian Smith. Too bad they have the wrong girl…

Review:
Continue reading “review; a tale of time city”

when reading becomes a challenge

bookworm things

I’ve been wondering for a while why I seem to have no interest in reading my books lately. Today, I read ‘Why I Quit My Goodreads Challenge‘ and realised that I haven’t particularly been enjoying reading because of the pressure I’ve unconsciously been giving myself to hit my target.

It’s not as if my target has been particularly high to begin with. I had set myself a 20 book target. I had done the same last year, and I had hit the target by the mid-year and increased it to 25. When I hit that, I increased it again to 30. I didn’t hit 30 books, but I did hit my first target.

It was a good feeling.

But it also felt a little disappointing when I didn’t hit my final target. And reading, or not reading, should not feel disappointing. I used to read because I enjoy it. I still read for enjoyment, because I love to read and I like putting out reviews on why I’ve enjoyed or not enjoyed a particular story.

This year has not been a year for reading so far. I’ve read 4 books. I’m happy that I’ve read that many, to be quite honest, because this year I have been wanting to focus on my writing, on starting and establishing this blog. Reading and watching TV are my destressing from the other pressures I’ve put on myself, on the other targets I’ve set for myself.

I’m reclaiming that, thanks to Mica‘s inspiration. I have other things I want to be doing this year – I want to finish up my new short story. I want to learn a little more about book photography. I want to keep blogging, keep writing fanfiction and reading fanfiction, and watching television and learning new recipes – there are so many things I want to do this year, and if reading falls a little to the wayside, it’s not a bad thing.

Putting a target I already know I may not hit is just making me unhappy. But I also don’t want to quit the reading challenge because I like knowing how many books I have read. Instead, I’ve lowered my target to 10. If I hit it before the end of the year, maybe I’ll increase it by one or two books. If I don’t hit the target, well, maybe next year I’ll set my target even lower.

There are some people who manage to read hundreds of books in a year. I salute you guys. I wish I could do that. I used to be able to do that as a kid. But now, I think I get distracted too easily. And that’s okay!

What do you think? Has reading brought more pressure than pleasure over the years as life happens?

2016-04-12 11:46

review; what katy did

IMG_1691

What Katy Did (At School & Next)
by Susan M. Coolidge

Katy Carr has ideas of her own — most of which get her into trouble. Most of the first book in the trilogy is about Katy’s response to an accident that leaves her (temporarily) paralysed. The second covers a year at boarding school, and the third follows Katy to Europe, where she spends a year assisting a family travelling there.

Review:
Continue reading “review; what katy did”

review; inferno

IMG_4037

Inferno
by Dan Brown

In the heart of Italy, Harvard professor of symbology Robert Langdon is drawn into a harrowing world centered on one of history’s most enduring and mysterious literary masterpieces – Dante’s Inferno.

Against this backdrop, Langdon battles a chilling adversary and grapples with an ingenious riddle that pulls him into a landscape of classic art, secret passageways, and futuristic science. Drawing from Dante’s dark epic poem, Langdon races to find answers and decide whom to trust… before the world is irrevocably altered.

Review:
Continue reading “review; inferno”

top ten; characters to revisit

bookworm things

I’ve been book blogging long enough to have seen Top Ten posts on the various blogs I have subscribed to. I have not been blogging long enough to have participated. Until today.

The Broke and the Bookish have compiled a VERY INTERESTING list of prompts for Top Ten Tuesdays. Many times, I find myself pausing and thinking – hey, I could have done this. I have ideas for what I would have written! – but then I never get around to actually writing the thing because procrastination is an old friend of mine.

This time, though, this time I had to try. Or – okay, do or do not, there is no try, as Yoda says. Ten characters I want to revisit as adults, that’s easy. Or so I thought.

Coming up with ten characters was DIFFICULT. There are so many characters I love? But so most of their stories ended satisfactorily enough that I never want to revisit them again? So I may have, kind of, sort of, cheated a bit?

Or not cheated, per se. Mixed things up? Yeah, that sounds better, right?

top ten tuesday

Where Are They Now?
These would be characters I grew up reading about, whose stories may have ended, but whom I would love to check up on, in a way.

  • Alex Mack, from The Secret World Of Alex Mack. (Did she get her normal life? How did her family deal with everything that happened? Did she really give up her abilities? Is she still super close with her sister? ARE THEY HAPPY?)
  • Matilda, from Matilda. (She got adopted by Ms Honey, which was THRILLING, but then what? How did school go for her after? Did she skip grades? Is she still friends with the mish-mash group she got to know under Ms Trunchbull’s rule? IS SHE HAPPY? IS MS HONEY HAPPY??? Does she still devour every book she can get her hands on?)
  • Violet Smith, from A Tale Of Time City. (She made a home, a family, in Time City. But what about her actual family? Does she ever visit them? Does she live in Time City or divide her time between both lives? A sequel would not be remiss here, just saying!)
  • Katy Carr, from What Katy Did. (Okay, so What Katy Did Next ended with Katy’s engagement, but what happened after that? I definitely would not mind knowing more about how she fell in love with Ned. So sue me, I’m a romantic at heart.)
  • Susan Pevensie, from The Chronicles Of Narnia. (I get so sad when I think of Susan Pevensie. Tell me she was happy, she built her life up again after losing everybody in that train crash. Tell me she found Aslan in her new life, in her new world. That she grew up and found him anyway, that she was not forsaken. I will never be over Susan Pevensie apparently being forsaken because she listened to Aslan and grew up and made a life for herself. #bitterSusanfan)

What Were They Like Before?
These are the older characters I loved, who I want to know a little more about as children. What were they like when they were younger? Give me backstories, please.

  • The Marauders, from Harry Potter. (Literally no one would resist a chance to know all about the Marauders when they were in Hogwarts. To know how they became friends, how they grew apart. To know how James and Lily fell in love, how the Order was formed. That entire generation’s story would be FASCINATING, and I would love to read it.)
  • Haymitch Abernathy, from The Hunger Games. (This does not have to stop at Haymitch. I’d be fascinated by all the Games that came before the rebellion, to be quite honest. Give me the first ever Games. Give me the need FOR the Games. Or, you know, I’d also be okay for Haymitch’s games, and getting to know Maysilee Dorner, and the girl Haymitch loved and lost.)
  • Daphne & Ajax, from the Starcrossed series. (I know Josephine Angelini wrote a bit of a prequel for this? But I would LOVE to know more, about how they met and fell in love and lost one another.)
  • Maura Sargent & the ladies, from The Raven Cycle. (I haven’t had a chance to read The Raven King yet, so I don’t know if we’ll get to know the backstories of all the ladies at 306 Fox Way, but I’m DEFINITELY intrigued by how Calla, Persephone and Maura especially became friends. About how they fell into living together. About how Maura met Blue’s father, and what actually happened there. SO MANY QUESTIONS.)
  • Mandy, from Ella Enchanted. (It’s been ages since I’ve read this book, but the more I look back on it, the more I’m fascinated by how Mandy may have fallen in with Ella’s family. How did she and Ella’s mother become friends? I really, really think there’s a story to be told here…)

And there you have it! Ten characters I want to know more about – either about their futures, or about their pasts. Okay, technically more than 10 characters? Since some of them are groups of characters?

So, let’s put it this way – ten stories that could still be told? Ten stories I want to know more about?

What are characters you would want to revisit? What stories do you think should still be told? I’m sure I left out many characters I still love, so come and discuss this with me!!!

2016-04-12 11:46