Book boxes used to be such unattainable treasures. This is the fourth one I’ve gotten in the past two years. I don’t get them frequently, I consider that frivolous even though I love them. I tend to be practical (mostly) about such things and whatever I get I use vigorously. All four boxes were by local businesses cause foreign shit is expensive.
The first two were by OwlPost, they, sadly, closed their operations some time ago. Second one was by Absolutely Booked and this recent fourth one is by Traveller’s Tales. They can be found on Instagram by these same names.
So Traveller’s Tales isn’t that popular a business, I’d been following them for some time and when they announced their July theme “Wizards, Witches and Sorcery” I was like
I ordered this in Ramazan and I got it on Tuesday. My nephews were here and I tried to unbox it with them. I can’t upload the video but the long and short of it is that it did not go well. I was constantly on edge the whole time because those kids are unruly. They wouldn’t shut up, thereby ruining the video saying stupid things or just straight up snatching at things which obviously I couldn’t tolerate. Sigh.
But one way or another I did manage.
I strongly believe that they could do a much, much better job in terms of quality. I did not like the packaging and the print outs and the stickers. You could tell they were badly printed and sub-par quality, but in terms of staying true to the theme and quantity, they nailed it! There was SO much packed inside plus I felt the witchcraft rolling off of the box.
They gave me a small gift package that included a pair of feather earrings, a ring that was in a small helicopter (I didn’t know it was bearing a ring until the business themselves asked me if I had opened it!) and a pink toy figure. Cute.
Then there were two pages: The Scroll of Deets. I LOVED that, I really did. It listed everything that was in the box so obviously I didn’t read it first.
There were three things that weren’t an ‘official’ part of the box. One was a welcome card of sorts? They actually asked for the subscriber’s witch or wizard name while I was filling out the order form and I gave ‘Seraphina Silver’. They got the spelling wrong, though. Tee Hee. I also didn’t know that ‘Marry Meet’ was a witch greeting. They told me that after I posted this in my story.
One was this small card with a quote about witches. And the last was this glass sword.
The things in the box according to the scroll were:
One of these is actually part of something else but I made a mistake in thinking that they were the same. The reason was that one of these (I don’t remember) which wasn’t in any separate packaging so I thought they forgot to pack it inside the Incense package.
2- Bath Salts:
Lavender, Coconut and Lots of Fire. Smells nice.
3- Pillow Cover:
FINALLY. SOME HARRY POTTER MERCH.
4 – Doctor Strange Candle:
It smells nice and there was this dope but fake green gem inside. I’m in love with this dope-but-fake gem.
5- Healing Oil:
It smells like medicine. Not the disgusting kind but still, a tiny bit pungent. I don’t know what it’s supposed to heal. The scroll says pain but what kind? Pain of love? Rejection? Stomach? Eh, who cares. I never intended to use this shit.
6 – 8) Books:
The box had three books insie:
Coraline by Neil Gaiman
Deewan-e-Jigar by Jigar Murad Abadi (a poetry book)
Chantress Alchemy by Amy Butler Greenfield
The second was an odd choice but still I appreciate the fact that they added an Urdu book inside. The third one made sense but I think it wasn’t wise. For starters, this was the second book in the series and I hadn’t even heard of it. They could have just as easily added the first instead as I’m sure it’d have fit the theme as well. Second, since they added three books I think it would have been much better if they had added this whole trilogy? Chantress, Chantress Alchemy and Chantress Fury. That said, I still liked this book.
9- Gandalf Bookmark:
Now I know what I’ll use while reading The Return of the King 😀
10- Widow’s Bauble:
This necklace/choker? thingy.
11- Witch’s Secret Garden:
Basil leaves. Again, how do I know these are basil leaves…?
12- Sodalite Bracelet:
This is one of the two things that I didn’t like at all. Meh.
13- Wizard’s Energy Muse:
Cool but er, what do I do with it except take pictures of it?
14 + 17- Scratchin’ Craves:
This had fake nails and Bellatrix Lestrange sticker sheet. That is my second least favorite thing. I would have liked it a lot had it been in better quality.
15- Smudge with Plate:
That’s what the scroll says and it still doesn’t make any sense. There’s a plate with scorpions on it and there’s a fake scorpion and there’s a tiny container with stuff in it that I’m supposed to smudge and then what?
16- Wizard’s Art Print:
I love this so much but again, would that it were in better quality!
18- The Book of Shadows:
A.K.A the COOLEST thing EVER!
They put so much effort into making it look old and archaic and dusty and I loved it. It’s only a couple of pages thick but all are filled with dark and weird witchy stuff like this:
Oh and the scorpion actually came out of the same packet as this.
This was a satisfying experience. The three boxes I’ve had before were 5 times better in quality but they weren’t quite as exciting or quite as full.
Apart from the Chantress book and the bookmark I haven’t actually used any of the stuff yet but all in good time. Meanwhile, I can always keep taking pictures, eh?
Well, none. But Tess of the Road gave me bittersweet pangs.
A Book That Made Me Happy:
The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch. I am T-R-A-S-H for this series. Let it be known.
Favorite Book-to-Movie Adaptation I Saw This Year:
I think the movie will come out at the end of the year but the trailer had me SHAKEN TO THE CORE WITH FEELS. I adore the Hungry City series and while I’m aware of the changes they’ve made, let’s face it, movie-with-changes is better than no-movie-at-all. I did a post on the trailer immediately after, so *shaken was I. (*Shaken, not shook)
I was desperate to try something new a few days ago so I settled on these kitty pouches/bags I came across on Pinterest. The idea was to make something like those pouches and wallets as always, using what I had. This was mostly just me doing it on the spur of the moment. There was no real planning involved, or if there was it was really quick. I just gathered the materials I wanted to use, placed the reference in front of me and went at it.
It was FUN!
I made it smaller than I originally intended because of a mistake during cutting which really was a blessing. This Robert kaufman Zoology print is a very prized possession and is fast running out, given how rare it is to find something like this in the local market, I try to be as careful with it as I can.
This is my worktable and this is what I used as a reference.
The black fabric I used for the outside is actually lawn. Lawn is very thin and a bit unsuitable for bags and such but I had only this in black so I used it. Since it was thin when I tried to add interfacing to the back of it, the white was showing so I doubled each piece I cut in black.
Firstly I cut two large black rectangles measuring 13.5″ X 9″. These two made the outside. Like I said before I cut two so the black would look black and the white of the interfacing wouldn’t show. How I made sure these pieces would be firmly attached to each other would come later.
Then I cut two pieces of interfacing: one non-fusible, the exact same measurement as the main piece and the other fusible which is shorter in length and width. The former is softer felt and the latter is stiff and quite effective in giving shape and body.
Then I cut the lining print of the same length and width from the zoology print.
Now for the kitty face that would go on the flap covering the wallet. I cut two black pieces for the front and one black for the back. Two pieces of batting to make it fluffy and plush toy-like, four pieces for the ears, two for each and then felt for the nose and eye lashes. Also velcro that would go on the back of this kitty face.
Then I folded the black piece to see how the wallet would look like. The beauty of this method is that you need only one large rectangle and that would serve as the front, back and flap of the wallet.
Another useful thing to do is to iron the folded piece to create creases that would later help you figure out where to fold when you attach the lining and main piece together and have to stitch the sides closed.
Attached the fusible interfacing to one of the black pieces, carefully pinned all three (two black and one interfacing) and then sewed these lines with different threads. That was a quick decision. I had to make sure that the two black pieces were firmly connected somehow to make one outside piece so I did that.
I also attached the non-fusible one to the lining print by sewing lines on it.
I placed the outside and the lining wrong sides together, pinned it, and then sewed all the way around and also straight lines on top of the creases.
And then I put bias tape all around the rectangle to seal the edges.
Now the kitty face! It had to go on the flap in a way that it would cover it all and the bottom of the front of the wallet as well so the velcro would be on the back of the kitty face.
I did the ears first. Attached interfacing to each of the four pieces, placed them wrong sides together, sewed all sides except for the bottom for turning around, turned inside-out, pressed, top-stitched and sewed the white felt on them while the bottom of the ears was still raw edges.
Then I took the two black pieces that were the front of the kitty face, attached fusible interfacing on the back where I thought the nose and the eyes would go and then stitched the felt on the face. This was before adding the batting.
Did the same for the back except with velcro.
To keep the batting in place, loosely stitched it to each piece all the way around before joining the two together.
Then placed them wrong sides together making sure to add the ears symmetrically between the two, sewed all the way around leaving an opening for turning, turned (did NOT press, that would have flattened the batting and I didn’t want that) and then sewed the opening closed.
After completing the face I attached it to the flap. And after that I added the other piece of velcro to the wallet. The sides hadn’t been stitched closed at that point.
The last step was stitching the sides together. I’m glad I did bias tape, if I had done the whole wrong sides together and then turning right side out thing it would have been impossible to sew because of the bulk. It was still difficult to sew with the bias tape but still.
And this is how I made this wallet. I hope you liked it and learned something from it, if you didn’t, well, who cares?
June was a busy, busy month so despite trying very hard I couldn’t read nine books which has been my usual number this year. I read seven.
The Two Towers:
I still have to read The Silamrillion and other short stories to educate myself properly on the lore but TTT confused me less than TFOTR, to be honest.
خدا کی بستی (God’s Own Land):
It was so incredibly … not cheerful? The people in it were Messed Up and the situations they were in were messed up and I didn’t feel particularly thrilled reading this book.
Welcome to Dead House (Goosebumps # 1):
Apparently, everyone EVER has read this series as a child or a teen except for me. This is not why I picked it up though. I wanted to read something quick and these are very short books plus horror is the genre I genuinely want to read more in. This wasn’t terrifying but it was spooky, yes.
Anne’s House of Dreams:
It was lovely and bittersweet, much like all the Anne books before.
The Cruel Prince:
It broke my heart (not really) and pissed me off to no end (yes really) that this book, that started off so well, ended up so bad. Like, so bad. It’s called The Cruel Prince but he only has a supporting role in it. The protagonist is infuriating, the development is non-existent. Me not recommending.
I’d like someone to explain to me with diagrams and charts if need be, exactly what the point was of this book. My issue was not that it was bad or anything, the issue is that it’s pretty much pointless as a prequel.
Ah! One memorable trilogy. These books were fantastic. I hated one of the protagonist’s guts in this book but the story itself was great so it didn’t matter.
July TBR Options:
I’d really like to get to The Silmarillion this month, and possibly even The Return of the King.
A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir
The Charmed Children of Rookskill Castle by Janet Fox (you should see the cover)
June was awesome. Ramazan, Eid, rain, what more can you possibly ask for?!
I had the best Eid in recent years and that is saying something. It’s been raining the last half of June and nothing improves my mood better than rain. Cloudy days are so charming! If I was Anne Shirley I would say a couple of eloquent sounding sentences about it but I’m not so I’ll just stick to “it’s charming”. Ehehehe.
My friend paid her yearly visit before Eid on the 9th, a week after that was Eid and three days of visits to close and distant relatives.
I finally finished my super special project of using this nail polish print to make all different kinds of things. I shall miss it!
I also listened to Red Seas Under Red Skies and I will hold off listening to The Republic of Thieves until there’s a chance of the fourth book releasing soon. I started Howl’s Moving Castle audiobook on the 29th and it’s been delightful!
I couldn’t do my usual number of 9 books in June which was maddening. I could only read 7 and most of them were meh.
I made another book bag this month. I feel so proud of those especially. This is the third one I’ve made and actually, I cut it on Eid because I was so bored. I will share the pictures in another post.
After almost two years I returned to the world of Doctor Who. This was Peter Capaldi’s last series as the 12th Doctor and I have mixed to negative feelings on this last series.
Everybody was raving about Suno Chanda all Ramazan long and I’ve started watching that too! It is DELIGHTFUL.
I used to be really into coloring and painting and drawing and making cards. I’ve stopped doing these things and have been focusing more and more on sewing for the past year but I did want to color something at the back of my mind lately. So I went and got new pencil colors. These are Faber Castell Watercolor Pencils and I’ve chosen the cover of Goosebumps # 2 (it’s this gross half plant half human hand peeking out of a door) to replicate.
I also initiated this group chat on Instagram of all places with 5 of my buddies from Goodreads who totally did not know each other so the first couple of hours was us introducing each other. I knew all of them and all of them knew me but some of them did not know one another and it was hilarious. Anyway I feel really proud of that since we’ve been having hysterical conversations ever since.
Another monumental instance (sarcasm) this June was me finishing my fat-assed journal. I’d been using that dear old monstrosity for over a year and I breathed a sigh of relief when it was finally full.
That’s the long and short of it. I wish I could upload pictures in this post but I just don’t have the energy…If writing this is so boring I can’t imagine what reading it must feel like. Forgive me, world.
Yes, I watch Doctor Who. Innumerable posts on Pinterest about Sherlock, Merlin, Doctor Who and Supernatural lead me to it. I binged on it in early 2016 then had to wait for the 10th series for nearly two years. I’ve finally watched it now and here I am, letting it all out.
Twelfth has been our favorite so far in the new series. My nephews and I instantly warmed up to him and his theme.
I thought I loved Matt Smith and his theme but oh, no. I wonder if I’ll feel the same towards 13th, I can’t really say. What I can say at this moment is that I’m not too thrilled with the idea of a female doctor. I’m sure she’ll be excellent but THE doctor, for me, was a stumbling, bumbling and adorable man, begging your feminist pardon if you find yourself offended.
I started with the Christmas Special The Return of Doctor Mysterio so I’m counting that in here as well. That special was brilliant and so much fun!
It was such a happy, cool and funny episode, one to see with the kids. I used to be a fan of Justin Chatwin when I was a leetul kid ehehe and I was rewarded by his adorable role. Also, the gorgeous dude from Merlin, Gwen’s brother was in it too.
This series, though, was less than satisfactory, I’m afraid. There were 3 or 4 episodes which were really, really good but most of them fell short and I felt it keenly. Same with the new companion, Pearl Mackie is gorgeous and amazing but Bill Potts wasn’t remarkable in any way. Martha Jones also accompanied the Doctor for a year but she made comparatively more of an impact. Besides that there was Missy, everything about her storyline was awful and then Nardole. I liked Nardole, probably a lot more than Bill.
Furthermore, each series in the past built up to something huge with perilous with grave consequences for the world if not the universe at large. In this regard too, this series was mellow. The final storyline was AWESOME make no mistake but I felt the danger and threat was a bit contained? There was also no buildup whatsoever, not to the Doctor’s regeneration or to the ‘final’ enemy. There were individual stories in this series, some stretching to two or three episodes but none of them lead to something ‘big’ at the end.
Okay, so it was a decent enough opening. The episode had its moments and I was genuinely scared at times (Rule: Good Doctor Who episodes a) scare you shitless b) shatter your heart into a million pieces because they are cruel c) both) In the past, when the companions entered this moment of before and after by entering into the Doctor’s crazy companionship they were all fazed and shocked and all that. Bill took it effortlessly, too effortlessly I thought. I don’t think I minded, it’s just what I noted.
This was C-R-E-E-P-Y in a cool way. Love her shirt.
Just look at their faces! It was a potentially dynamic pairing. Potentially.
This was another avearge-to-good episode. I enjoyed it but I was put off by Bill’s ‘argument’ with the Doctor. It felt forced as if it had to be done. All companions have been known to rattle the Doctor’s conscience when it seemed like it had gone to sleep (did it ever though?), urging him to save lives and such, but this was entirely out of place.
Bill’s anger didn’t make any sense, the boy that died was already dead and there was nothing the Doctor could do. He’s seen so much and solved so many scenarios like this he knows the best course of action is to focus on identifying the problem and doing something about it rather than moping. She dived into things with him with such ease, it should have been easier for her to understand that he does this all the time and knows best. Eh.
I may be reading too much into it but I did not like that scene and is also part of the main problem for me in this series: the companion wasn’t sketched well enough. She was just filling a place and developing an emotional attachment to her proved rather difficult.
Doctor’s attempts at slang were hilarious.
One of my favorites from this season! I loved loved loved the spookiness! The story was great, the Doctor-Bill banter where she pretended that he was her grandfather was great, Doctor chatting it up with her mates was F-U-N-N-Y
and I enjoyed it immensely while being scared shitless. YAYY.
I had turned out the lights at the start but immediately realized what a bad idea that was so on came the lights. LOL.
Even though this had a lot of action and stuff, my final impression of it is still that it was okay-ish. The best part was the Doctor being blind, being alright and then the cliffhanger at the end that he was pretending to see and was still blind. I was like HOLY SHIT.
AND! Now that I remember it, the storyline about Capitalism and corporations being evil and expending humans in favor of robots is something I frequently read in sci-fi so that was, like, cool and stuff.
Extremis – The Pyramid at the End of the World – The Lie of the Land:
The most tedious and flat storyline in the whole series, if not the past few years worth of series. The Monks were so bland and dull? It was hard to take their threat seriously. Extremis, out of all the three, was a bit more engaging. The only funny thing was the Doctor depending on Nardole as his eyes.
Otherwise it was just the Doctor risking his neck and the humans throwing it all away being thick (typical stuff) while unappealing as shit villains walked in rags and talked about ‘consent’ and ‘love’.
Empress of Mars:
Eurgh. The Ice Warriors were neither impressive nor particularly fearsome, the whole British-soldiers-stranded-on-Mars-having-tea wasn’t amusing in the least and the landscape (in this case, caves below the surface) wasn’t helping matters. The weapons they used that turned people into grotesque turtles, dead ones was perhaps the only thing of note.
The Eaters of Light:
This episode, veritably, left a bad taste in my mouth. It. was. HORRIBLE. Literally, the worst episode of this series. The Doctor wasn’t being his “I’m a hilarious mean genius who will save you all” self, he was a total dick to the warrior girl. And, his whole, ‘let me sacrifice myself to save you all’ routine, pretty much like the Doctor-Companion argument on morality, felt forced and out of place.
Clearly, there were people willing to defend the portal, obviously, they were going to do it and his logic that they were mortal and couldn’t guard it forever didn’t stop them, did it? Nor was he correct if that horrible music coming out from under the Earth after hundreds of years was anything to go by. What was that actually? They just stood there and fought the Eaters forever? Until they dropped dead? Like, what even?
World Enough and Time – The Doctor Falls:
Remember how I said the best Doctor Who episodes are cruel ones? Yup, these last two were cruel. Well, the former rather than the latter but since the latter is a continuation of that I’ll count it too. The plot was clever, it made me gasp, shattered my heart and scared me. This was the BEST story in the whole series.
Plus it had this scene. I hate Missy but she was passably, tolerably amusing. And oh, Bill! Such ruthlessness, much wow. This had Steven Moffat written all over the place even if I hadn’t known he wrote it. The old rascal! The whole time-passing-differently was a major kick in the gut, it always is. The Master, before he tore off his disguise, was adorable. I couldn’t place him even though he seemed familiar. I though he was Mark Gatiss! Lol. And it hurt! Boy, it hurt, even though I never truly warmed up to Bill.
Twice Upon a Time:
Considering this was the last Peter Capaldi episode ever, I was underwhelmed. Even Argus Filch couldn’t elicit much excitement. I knew he wasn’t young but man, he’s gotten old. It’s always cool to see the Doctor with his past/future selves but this Christmas Special was still rather drab.
Bill and Nardole came back, sort of, ish. I’m not sure I exactly followed what that was all about but in a nutshell, the future the two Doctors went to had this technology that lead dead people’s memories be preserved upon death and those memories could take the shape of the person. So what they were saying was, cheer up, here’s Bill and Nardole, but they are both dead and this is just a bunch of memories walking and talking. Feh.
I was glad to see Clara, though. Oh, I wish she were real and not just the Doctor remembering her! The first face that face saw! I CRI.
This series was a 6/10 for me and I’m being generous, as usual. My favorite episodes were the World Enough and Time and Knock Knock and I did like the first three as well. The rest was, just, no.
There are two that I specifically remember even though there were quite a bit that made me laugh or that I liked:
One is in Knock Knock when the Doctor confronts the caretaker of the house and figures out that he is protecting someone. He smiles and asks the caretaker where that someone is. That smile gave me chills. It was such an incredible change of expressions. 12’s face is prematurely lined and more used to being grumpy, in that scene his face went from being curious and worried to an all out smile that didn’t quite reach his eyes. It was a cold smile and that transformation of it struck me. I loved that.
The other one was at the end of The Lie of the Land. The Doctor and Bill are chilling under a monument of the Monks after successfully driving them away and to prove that humans forget rather quickly, he stops a girl passing by.
Doctor: You, appalling hair, this thing that we’re sitting on, what is it? Appalling Hair: Uh, we thought they were just like, filming something here or something. Doctor: Thank you, very helpful. Now, go away or something.
What I didn’t like (specifically):
So first things first. In the Mysterio Christmas Special there’s a scene where Nardole asks the Knight of Camelot, erm, I mean the handsome bad guy ‘where the little boy’s room is’. The dude becomes nervous and shuts him out but there’s no mention of it again. Seriously? What boy? What was he even talking about? Was he implying something I missed?
In the first episode there’s a girl named Heather who has a ‘star in her eye’ and because of that she gets sucked into/possessed by that sentient spaceship oil puddle. Again, what? That ‘star’ in her eye, what was it? Because it didn’t look normal.
I intensely disliked the Missy subplot in this series. It was incredibly pointless, the whole thing. First, the weirdness. You couldn’t trust her for a moment and indeed she betrayed the Doctor so many times only to proclaim she was on his side. It ran in circles. And what was with the crying? And that bizarre reaction whenever the doctor touched her? It was so weird. So what, she decided to be good all of a sudden? I didn’t buy it for a second.
Secondly, this inner conflict of hers served no purpose at all because as I said, she betrayed the Doctor repeatedly, decided to ‘stand with him’ at the last and I mean LAST moment and was killed by her past self. What an incredible waste.
Then it was Doctor’s refusal to put Missy down. Lemme just put this right here: She, until very recently, was responsible for killing millions of people and causing a shit ton of trouble through time and space repeatedly. Here’s what you do with murderers: the law requires them to be executed. And that is just when a single person is killed. The Doctor well and clearly knew how remorseless she/he had been her entire life and still he let her live just because he thought she had changed now? Or because she was the last of his kind and his friend? That is fucking bullshit. This isn’t how it’s supposed to go. Remorseful or no, that is a just punishment. Especially when you’ve fucking killed people on a whim. What’s better: punishing one person for his crime and letting this be a lesson to others or letting that person live and thereby encouraging others to do the same because you’re basically telling them they can get away with murder, and also letting that same person do more harm? I can’t even with his shit. People make fun of laws now because they seem ‘inhumane’ to them. Go fuck yourself. You’ll see what the world turns into when murderers are pardoned. Only then, there would be no Doctor to save your ass.
Where was I? Yeah, so another thing is Bill. I don’t know anything about her besides the fact that her mother is dead and she likes girls. They made sure to rub the latter in only. Who is that woman she lives with? Where is her father? How old is she? She was just filling the role of a ‘companion’ and it showed. I don’t think we got to really know her.
I don’t know, this entire season seemed a little half-assed to me.
Peter Capaldi was my favorite Doctor and I shall miss the oaf greatly. That’s actually what I’ve said about every Doctor ever since I started watching Doctor Who. So who knows? Maybe 13th will become my favorite too!
The Doctor: “Things end. That’s all. Everything ends. And it’s always sad. But everything begins again too, and that’s always happy. Be happy. I’ll take care of the rest.”
As I’ve said many times before (but probably no one remembers or cares), I LOVE The Hungry City Chronicles. I read all four books last winter and it’s become one of my absolute favorites! You can read my overview post here.
I came across the full length official trailer this morning and ASDFGHJJKL I AM DECEASED!!!!
FIRST OF ALL, IT GAVE ME CHILLS.
SECOND OF ALL, IT WAS GLORIOUS.
AND LASTLY, I’M IN LOVE WITH THE WOMAN WHO PLAYS ANA FANG.
Let’s break it down, shall we? So I can scream about each second individually.
Okay, okay, I’ll be calm about this…. Nah.
I CAN’T EVEN WITH HOW PERFECT EACH AND EVERY CHARACTER LOOKS? THE CAST IS SO WELL-CHOSEN I GOT GOOSEBUMPS ALL OVER!
They are exactly as they should be! Especially the woman who plays Ana Fang? I MEAAANNNNNN… WHO IS THAT, WOMAN AND WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR CHOOSING HER? I’d like to kiss both. K Thanks.
Look at her! My God, I will cry! That IS Ana Fang! I LOVE HER!!!
Also, Tom looks amazing! The actor is legit perfect.
Valentine, Katherine and Hester are the other significant characters and they all appear and they all look cool. I didn’t catch Shrike so his absence is most definitely intentional.
I guess it’s time to address the elephant in the room. Everybody looks fantastic in their roles, even Hester, who is my favorite of them all. Er, but the thing is… That’s not what she’s ‘supposed’ to look like…
Scores and scores of people are going to be pissed about this, I haven’t checked reactions, and I’m not exactly thrilled with this either. That was always a possibility though so I can’t say I’m surprised. What this does is intentionally put more focus on the bedazzling effects than the personal development and relationship part of the books.
Maybe they’ll address this later if the franchise is able to expand, but basically, Hester’s ugliness (“scarred from forehead to jaw, nose a smashed stump, a single eye glaring“ she’s Chucky from Child’s Play essentially) causes her constant pain and she’s on the receiving end of a whole lot of shit she doesn’t deserve because of her looks. Even people whom she loves dearly and are ‘supposed’ to love her back can’t stand how hideous her face is.
Awkward… Whomever made this must have steam coming out of their ears, I imagine.
Yeeaaaaaaaaaah, so the film obviously did not go there. Like it didn’t even make an effort. It was quite obvious from the first teaser because both of Hester’s eyes were quite intact but I had hoped that it wouldn’t be as un-gory as this:
This one is the most accurate because Hester’s face is permanently disfigured into a sneer:
So we start off with London moving in for the kill. It’s a small mining town which Hester Shaw is aboard and they’re about to be gobbled up.
Multiple shots of London, breath-taking by the way, the CGI in this movie is really gonna be something and I CA’T WAIT. So London from different angles while the audience is given a brief piece of history: the 60-minute war that lead to Municipal Darwinism.
We see Tom Natsworthy with Katherine Valentine in the London Museum, in the Guild of Historians. I don’t know why he’s so shocked, though, he’s an apprentice there. Also, totally digging this guy FYI.
More London, look at the mess these Traction cities make!
Ah, Thaddeus Valentine! Handsome Head Historian and renowned archaeologist, but devious.
The unfortunate mining town being enveloped in London’s enormous “Gut”.
Oh that looks quite nice. Good old propaganda. This hints the Tractionist and Anti-tractionist conflicts to come.
We get the whole scene with Hester’s assassination attempt, Tom’s intervention and both of them being thrown in and out of the Gut. Which was AWESOME and went EXACTLY like I imagined!!!
This is Valentine working with the Artificers’ Guild (I think that was what they were called? Yikes I can’t remember!) on Shrike.
The tracks! It’s sometimes hard for me to imagine the scale of such things when I’m reading them so this is VERY COOL!
The Jenny Haniver!!!!!!
At this point the music gets really good.
Behold the physical manifestation of badass! THIS SEQUENCE GAVE ME CHILLLLSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS. Ana, Hester and Tom aboard the Jenny Haniver! Yasss.
I had to squint a little but that’s the flying city of Airhaven!
I have an idea who that dude in the middle is, but I don’t recall his name. He was Ana’s friend, obvs and he’s in the next one or two books as well I think.
And that has to be the Old Tech MEDUSA.
Valentine’s strong belief that Old Tech must be controlled and used for power.
Another insane shot!
That would be the MEDUSA firing up after which shit hits the fan (in the book).
I spy Bevis Pod! That has to be him and he is supposed to be bald!
Crying emoji. CRYING EMOJI. So badasssssss.
Yup, shit hitting the fan, Airhaven going down, HESTER HUGGING TOM. God, that brings up sad memories. I love Hester so much.
That is probably in Batmunkh Gompa where the gang battles it out.
“You sure you wanna do this?” Um, yeah, Ana. I’m pretty sure.
This trailer brought up so many feels. SO MANY FEELS. It was a solid 10/10. Ana Fang alone is enough to sold anyone and everyone. SHE IS MAGNIFICENT.
I wish with all my heart and soul that it’s a success and that they do more films and give this underrated gem of a series the recognition and love it deserves.
I feel compelled to write all of this down because this was an unusually fun Eid. I mean, I’ve had my share of good and bad but ever since my nano (paternal grandmother) died, the whole family stopped gathering at our place for Eid, she used to live with us. And then we grew up and things changed so there have been a lot of meh and bad Eids since, the good ones have been few.
But this Eid was rad! I had fun! WHEEEEEE!
So the last few days of Ramadan this time around were filled with comparatively less melancholy and more anticipation. I remember last year was the opposite. I spent the 3-4 days before Eid preparing myself (and by that I mean I focused on removing those stupid blackheads). So it was charcoal masks and getting mehndi and sewing my Eid handbag (while my mother sewed the dress, TEE HEE) and just making sure everything was ready.
This year Ramazan started in all the countries at the same time so we were hoping or I was thinking that it would end on the same day as well? So we were all nervous on the 29th, it could have been Ramazan the 30th or it could have been Eid. Then they confirmed that it would be Ramazan in Pakistan which was just as well because I had neither shaved my arms nor done any mehndi. But then after Taraweeh I checked my Instagram feed and half the people were like Happy Eid! and I became so tense. Turns out, it was Eid the next day in Saudi Arabia and some other countries and the day after that in Pakistan. Whew.
So I shaved my arms leisurely (but painfully obvs) on the 30th, did some more half-assed facial treatment and then it was time for mehndi! A little background on that: I am not super-proficient nor am I terribly dexterous when it comes to that, but every Eid I get this superpower and my “attempts” look good when all is said and done. It used to be my sister who did mehndi on me, herself and our cousins but she’s been married for eight and a half years. For about half of those I didn’t do mehndi because I thought I couldn’t and the idea of doing it all alone, with no cousins and no sister made me forlorn.
I mean Chaand Raat (last night of Ramadan), used to be all about sleepovers and laughter and late night shenanigans. When that changed I sort of disconnected with the tradition of mehndi.
Luckily I gave up feeling sorry for myself and for the past 4 or 5 years I’ve been doing my own mehndi.
Ahem, now as I was saying, it was time for mehndi. I prefer to have periods on Eid because it lets me be free from the worries of prayer, it is so hard to pray when you’re out on Eid, the crappy bathrooms and all so I always wish for a namaz-free Eid. No such luck this time which meant that I would have to get up for Fajr which meant that my mehndi would have three hours at best before I would have to wash it all off. So.
I drank all I had to drink (doodh soda for the WIN) and started with my right hand, as in using my non-dominant left to apply mehndi on the inner (?) palm of my right. I had saved a couple of designs before hand but they were very complex and it would have taken looooong for me to do any of those with my left hand so I found another. It was a very beautiful half-moon design which I wrecked with my lack of skill.
Also, I don’t know what came over me, but right before I began my mehndi session I made a group on Instagram of the friends I have made on Goodreads. We’ve all been talking on and off for the past two years so I thought it’d be nice if I wished them all a happy Eid. Only after did I wonder if they all knew each other. They did not but it was SO. MUCH. FUN! The idea was a roaring success, I believe and we all went blah blah blah all night non-stop. All of them knew who I was but there were groups in between who knew some and didn’t know the rest. We’ve all been acquainted and I feel very proud. So it’s Tahreem, Marhaba, Zoha, Alafiya, Masooma and I and we’re still talking. We even sent each other short recorded Eid Mubarak messages which was BRILLIANT.
Anyhoo, I did the right hand mehndi and then I went and relieved myself. Ah, yes, that was a strategic choice, the right hand. It was so I could use the left when I went to the bathroom which I HAD to if I wanted to last four hours till Fajr without peeing. There really are no limits to my wit.
I did my left hand mehndi then and it was much neater and much better, evidently.
I wasted some time on the internet after that and finally fell asleep at 1:30 am approximately. Oh and the weather that night! That was another plus this Eid! The cool winds and red cloudy skies! Summer Eids have been hot and stuffy mostly but from Chaand Raat to the third day of Eid it was blessedly, awesomely cool. Alhamdulillah for that too!
EID DAY: 1
And then before I knew it dawned the next day, the day of Eid, or as I like to call it, The Day of BORINGGGG. My nano used to live upstairs with my uncle’s family, when she died about 12 years ago and my uncle moved out, for the next couple of Eids we gathered at various places, my elder uncle’s, my aunt’s, my aunt’s husband’s friend’s farmhouse (handful, I know). So what we started doing is we all spent the first day of both Eids meeting up with relatives exclusive to each family or in our case, doing nothing cause we don’t have that many exclusive relatives to begin with and then all of us meeting on the second day wherever we had decided to meet up.
I should mention that the “family” in question is my mother’s family, her brothers and sisters and their kids and their kids’ kids. My father’s side of the family is very small and for reasons I can’t and won’t explain, we aren’t on speaking terms. So my uncles and aunts spend the first day with the families of their spouses, their in-laws (while us siblings and parents stare at walls pretty much hence BORING) and then the next day we have an Eid party.
So the first day went exactly like the non-Eid days before. No one came. I wore the Eid clothes and got ready and all that which basically just entails wearing a new shalwar kameez and some earrings. I had my itinerary for the day which went something like this:
So I followed it.
The Eid pictures were the most exciting part of the day and that only lasted about 10 minutes. I asked my brother (bribed him with my laptop) to take them for me and miracles of all miracles he agreed AND the pictures turned out nice. Thank the Lord. One set was for my bookstagram
and the other for my sewstagram
since I made that matching Eid bag. That bag was kinda the star of this Eid to be honest. LOL. It got more compliments than I’ve ever gotten in all my 23 years. I exaggerate, of course but everyone (including me) really did admire that bag.
Cold Pizza and Coke were on the menu for me and I ate and drank these things from afternoon till midnight. Also kept chatting with my GR buddies in our group which I dubbed GRRM (short for GoodReads Reading Mates), that was really fun. I also worked on my sewing project which happened to be another book bag. I’ve shared two before here if you haven’t seen them. At night it was time for another mehndi session which was again successful
and then I watched Doctor Who after 2 WHOLE YEARS! The Return of Doctor Mysterio, the Christmas Special. It was AWESOME!
EID DAY: 2
I’m always apprehensive on days we have to go out, Eid days in particular. I have no psychological issue, I’m just shy and prefer to stay at home, alone and undisturbed, mostly. So I was a bit nervous getting ready (NOTE: When we were kids we got a new set of clothes for each day of Eid. That is ancient history and I really don’t mind. So I wore the same outfit on all three days 😀 Yes, you heard me. Although I did rinse it after each day’s wearing to wash off the sweat).
I loved my outfit and I’ve learned that if you like what you’re wearing it has a huge impact on your mood and confidence level. With me at least. There was one Eid I remember I wore something that wasn’t bad but wasn’t that great. I had a miserable time that Eid because I thought I looked ridiculous but to be fair, the venue that year was horrid as well.
My personal opinion is that my niqab was on point this Eid (LE GASP, I’m a niqabi). It was more on-point than it has ever been in my LIFE and that is saying a lot. I used my outfit’s dupatta for it and used this new niqab technique and it was easy as shit, well-pinned and looked good: SWEET JEET.
We left for my khala’s (aunt) place late, 12:30. I made sure to read some before we did because I wanted to finish the book I was reading (it was Anne’s House of Dreams). The first hour or so was meet and greet mostly and then it was food: Ze Main Event. First course was palao (rice of some sort I can’t describe in English), second was qeemay wale naan (bread filled with minced meat), then mangoes, then some homemade iced-syrupy thingies we call gola and is sort of similar to ice cream? except there’s no cream. It was just ice, Jaam-e-shireen and some thing called ‘tukh malanga’ which again I can’t describe in English. Basically, it was desert and while I love Jaam-e-shireen, I didn’t eat it.
After Maghrib prayer three of my cousins and I, all of us childhood playmates (2 of them are married and have two kids each) played Ludo and Lord Almighty it was the most hysterically humiliating game of my existence. We used to be real mad about Ludo as kids, we played it all the time. Sitting like that all of us together, I think it was the first time in a decade. Anyway, we divided ourselves into three teams, two partners each. Except for my team, I was partnered with the unmarried cousin, the rest of the two were paired with kids from the generation that came after us. And we were DESTROYED.
It was a supreme LOL-fest because we never stood a chance, three of us. The one whose house we were in, she and the kids were, are, so adept at it because they play every weekend, that most of the time we were just rolling the dice and they were making the moves for us. We were too slow for them! And it was hilarious! Faiza, my partner and I, just could not stop breaking into hysterics. It was the highlight of that day and I’ll remember it for years to come. Eventually, because it was taking long and being late all of us wanted to go home at that point, Faiza overturned the Ludo board.
Thus I returned home, happily defeated, thoroughly entertained and immensely satisfied. I can’t remember what exactly I did that night besides reading some more.
EID DAY: 3
It was decided the night before that we would also be paying a visit to abu’s cousin the next day, on the third day. I can’t run away from my nature, I wasn’t too thrilled about it. Abu’s cousin lives in Bhaati, the Walled City and thanks be to the Power that created the Universe I don’t live there. That place is a complete and utter nightmare.
The charm of old-fashioned places can only extend so far. It’s a terrible, terrible situation to live in, if you’ve been to the walled city you would know. Everything is in everyone’s faces. Unbelievably narrow streets, small houses that have barely enough space for a room in each floor and thus extend to several floors to make up for it, little or no regard at all to cleanliness and just the general and horrible feeling of claustrophobia that I get whenever I go there.
It made me immensely grateful for what I’ve been blessed with as soon as I entered the “Gate”.
A short summary of the day is: I had shameless fun. Abu’s cousin, whom we call, phupho (urdu for paternal aunt) has four kids, two sons and two daughters, eldest daughter is married. I hit it up with the younger one, Momina and we talked the day away. She is the sweetest. My bag was popular there as well 😀
That was a rundown of my Eid, the first of hopefully many such posts, written solely for my future self for her to look back at the fun times and all that jazz.
I’ve scrolled past this tag so many times because I was a little intimidated by the questions, if that makes sense? I always have such trouble sorting out which book/character is my favorite or which I hate the most or which book couple is the best couple and a handful of things that require thinking-through, ya know? So this time when I came to this I didn’t scroll past as FINALLY I have some answers in mind.
Beware, this is going to be one long-ass Locke Lamora appreciation post.
Okay, so the rule of this tag is that there are a total of 12 people in this dinner party, myself included, I have to choose the other 11.
One character who can cook/likes to cook:
All five of the Gentlemen Bastards are excellent cooks. Locke, Calo and Galdo, Sabetha and Jean had formal training for years under the careful tutelage of Father Chains. Granted, they eat disgusting things like Shark meat and eels whatever can be found in the waters of Camorr and the Sea of Brass but cook they can. I’m going to go with Jean Tannen in this one.
2. One character who has money to fund the party
Again, all five can afford a measly dinner party, being conniving thieves and all but I won’t choose one of them for this. Prince ElianMidas from To Kill A Kingdom. He’s rich, he’s a pirate, he kills Sirens. I’d like to see the Gentlemen Bastards and a Prince at the same table. Things would get pretty interesting.
3. One character who might cause a scene
Locke Lamora. No one, and I mean NO ONE, can cause a scene better than this guy even though all Gentlemen Bastards are seasoned trouble makers. He’s just got a knack for bullshitting with supreme confidence which I find infinitely endearing.
“… It’s perfect! Locke would appreciate it.” “Bug,” Calo said, “Locke is our brother and our love for him knows no bounds. But the four most fatal words in the Therin language are ‘Locke would appreciate it.'” “Rivalled only by ‘Locke taught me a new trick,'” added Galo. “The only person who gets away with Locke Lamora games …” “… is Locke …” “… because we think the gods are saving him up for a really big death. Something with knives and hot irons …” “… and fifty thousand cheering spectators.”
4. One character who is funny/amusing
Calo and Galdo Sanza are eligible here as well as in the “causing a scene” department but I would so love love LOVE to have Father Chains over for dinner! HE IS DELIGHTFUL. He’s the best teacher, friend and protector to the Gentlemen Bastards, not mention very picky about protocol and manners, the cleverest of them all, the wisest and definitely amusing. They were lucky as heck to have him as their guardian and Locke says as much to Sabetha in The Republic of Thieves.
“There are only three people in life you can never fool–pawnbrokers, whores, and your mother. Since your mother’s dead, I’ve taken her place. Hence, I’m bullshit-proof.”
5. One character who is super social/popular
Anne Shirley from Anne of the Green Gables. I feel tremendous glee in thinking just how awkward/insane this dinner party will be if Anne is sitting opposite the Gentlemen Bastards. Those Bastards are Gentlemen to their core so they will warm up nicely to the super-social Anne but let’s not forget, Anne is a red head and Locke Lamora only has a single weakness… Plus, she’s gonna be horrified when she learns of what they do for a living.
6. One villain
This one stumps me. I don’t think there’s a villain I love so much I would invite them to ruin a perfectly good (and uncomfortable as it is) dinner party? If I do they would be an “anti-hero/heroine” NOT a villain. If there’s anything that mostly pointless book called Because You Love To Hate Me taught me, it was that. So if I AM going to invite a “villain” it’d be because I want to embarrass him/her and want others to do the same because obviously I don’t love or respect him/her.
The Kommondant from An Ember in the Ashes. That bitch.
Then again, she probably won’t come.
7. One couple – doesn’t have to be romantic
Calo and Galdo Sanza! Believe me, this pair of twins is more mischievous than any other you may have read about. They’re olive skinned, hook-nosed and handsome looking devils and they are as obscene and adorable as they come. They cook too.
8. One hero/heroine
Okay, so just to let him know that he isn’t the ripest apple on the tree and that there are in fact, apples riper still and higher still, I would want Kaz Brekker to be there. I like him so he must pay for it. The seating arrangements would allow Kaz and Locke to sit opposite each other and I, at the head of the table thanksverymuch, would be watching them like a hawk.
9. One underappreciated character
Hester Shaw from The Mortal Engines series. I adore those books but she’s the only one in that series I truly liked and rooted for. Like the tone of the books, Hester is dark and sombre. She’s always misunderstood and always unappreciated by those closest to her and that boiled my blood. She deserved so much better. I feel like Hester will be the only one at the table who won’t talk or interact and whom people would avoid except me. I would invite her because I admire her greatly and I would say as much.
10. One character of your own choosing
I’d like to invite Murderbot from All Systems Red to this prodigious and remarkable feast. That’d really do it. EHEHEHE. Given how shy it is and how constant the battle is for it to appear normal in front of other humans despite feeling incredibly uncomfortable, I would be greatly fascinated to see how it copes. I’m not a nice person.
So yeah! This is what the guest list looks like. In any case, I’ll be day dreaming about this dinner party for a few days.
Character-driven high fantasy at it’s best. This book is basically a long Road-trip and it’s absolutely delightful. It’s an indirect sequel to the Seraphina duology which was also quite wonderful. Be warned though, these books are not fast-paced and might not be everyone’s cup of tea but they’re epic for sure!
2- Uff Yeh Larki:
A short Urdu book by a new author. It was light and quick and just what I needed at the moment.
3- The Extinction Trials:
B-A-D. It was the blandest book I’ve read recently and I couldn’t get invested in, though I tried my best. Hunger Games, my behind!
4- The Burning Maze:
I was fully prepared to ‘not like’ this. I love Percy Jackson and the Heroes of Olympus but the successive books have increasingly shed the charm of the original series. So I was quite surprised when I found myself not ‘disliking’ it.
5- Artificial Condition:
Maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan, I wish this was as good as the first one but it was not. Murderbot is still the most precious and adorable thing in the universe but he alone was not enough this time.
6- A Natural History of Dragons:
It could have been amazing but it was just terrible instead.
7- The Merry Spinster:
Okay, so do yourself a giant favor and DON NOT read this. It’s 80% poppycock and 20% the opposite.
8- The Fellowship of the Ring:
BEHOLD! I read this and I don’t feel myself elevated to the ranks of ‘fantasy readers with superlative tastes”. Go figure.
9- Anne of the Windy Willows:
‘Twas sweet and charming. I went back to Anne’s story after more than a year and I immediately felt at home.
Only Human (Themis Files # 3) by Silvain Nuevel
War Storm (Red Queen # 4) by Victoria Aveyeard
The Silmarillion and The Return of the King by J.R.R Tolkien
Welcome to Dead House by R.L Stine
Outcast (The Summoner Series # 4) by Taran Matharu
Anne’s House of Dreams (Anne of the Green Gables # 5) by L.M Montgomery