Posted in Uncategorized

A Sorcery of Thorns – Audiobook Review

One of my favorite standalones from last year, A Sorcery of Thorns was magical, captivating and brilliant. It was a pleasure revisiting the story. I wish we could get more books like it.

https://i.ytimg.com/vi/1cW8QpD1WkE/maxresdefault.jpg

It has one of THE most beautifully illustrated covers I’ve ever seen. While the concept of demons summoned from other dimensions isn’t new, I loved how it was written, nonetheless.

Even more fascinating were the Great Libraries, with ancient and new texts divided into classes depending on how dangerous they were. I’ve found that books about books tend to either be awfully poetic (Strange the Dreamer, this series is my horcrux, make no mistake) or awfully pretentious (The Starless Sea, God only knows what was happening in that book). A Sorcery of Thorns was devoid of both. It took a normal and casual approach which was refreshing.

I count Silas and Nathaniel’s bond in my ultimate FEELS list. HOW ADORABLE WERE THEY?

https://instagram.flhe4-1.fna.fbcdn.net/v/t51.2885-15/e35/61404041_323914448533226_4517710811985972713_n.jpg?_nc_ht=instagram.flhe4-1.fna.fbcdn.net&_nc_cat=102&_nc_ohc=w5fr2D7dEDgAX8l9RsC&_nc_tp=18&oh=116a292fe02c53583d294c3d82118dda&oe=5F916409

The audiobook was narrated by Emily Ellet. I think it’s stupid at this point to say that her voice was amazing, because let’s face it, narrators narrate because they have a great voice.

Her male impressions were funny, though. Nathaniel in particular, sounded part-arrogant, part-drunk. That’s the way she does male voices, I guess, instead of deepening her voice like other female actors do. I haven’t listened to any female voice actor as fricking fantastic at doing male voices as the lady who voiced Lilah from Shades of Magic.

It was a solid 9/10.

Posted in Uncategorized

The ‘Super Random’ Book Tag

#1: Color crazy

Pick a color that matches your emotion when you’re reading your favorite book.

Hmm, what is my happy color? I sometimes associate things with color, the thought is very sudden, comes out of nowhere. But I don’t have a favorite color so I guess I’ll just pick a favorite book and choose the color it makes me think of?

Blue – The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

#2: Favorite movie

Pick the best book-to-movie adaptation.

Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones. The Studio Ghibli film diverges from the book in several places, but what the heck, it’s still just as magical and beautiful.

Howl's Moving Castle: The Movie's 10 Biggest Changes From The Book

#3: Favorite song at the moment

What is your favorite song at the moment? Pick a book that you feel is the same as your favorite song.

I’m obsessed, and I mean obsessed with So ist es immer from the Attack on Titan soundtrack. It’s undoubtedly a bittersweet song, sad mostly, but is strangely uplifting. It’s half in German and half in English. The book it suits most is Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson.

Mistborn : The Final Empire – The Bookmark Books & Gifts

#4: Book slump:

Name a book that put you in a reading slump.

I read this children’s book back in 2016. It was so terrible I felt a slump approaching as I was reading it. Sure enough, the slump lasted me a good long while. The book was called Loki’s Wolves by K.L. Armstrong.

Loki's Wolves (The Blackwell Pages, #1) by K.L. Armstrong

#5: Book shopping

Name a book that you spent way too much money on.

Sadly, and fortunately, I’ve refrained from spending a lot on books. I never splurge. It’s always within my budget and carefully picked.

10 funny gifs What's The One Practical Home Hack Your Mum Taught You? -  Whatever practical home hack your mother taug… in 2020 | Bill hader,  Documentary now, Documentaries

#6: Empty pockets

Name a book that you really want but you don’t have the money for.

Someday, I would like to own the illustrated editions of all Harry Potter books…!

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: Illustrated Edition: Rowling, J.K.,  Kay, Jim: 9781408845677: Books - Amazon.ca

#7: The Golden trio

Name an iconic group of friends besides Harry Potter, Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley.

The Bastards! Just read The Lies of Locke Lamora, why don’t you? I love these little shits so much.

VoK 101: The Gentleman Bastard Sequence (by Scott Lynch) | Vassals of  Kingsgrave

#8: Memories

Name your top 3 favorite books.

K

  • Stain by A.G. Howard
  • LIFEL1K3 by Jay Kristoff
  • The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker
The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker

#9: Never ending tbr

Name a book that you want to add to your never ending tbr.

I don’t have anything specific in mind, but I think more of Stephen King books because everybody needs pant-wetting cringy horror stories in their life.

#10: Oops

Name a book that is popular but you haven’t read yet.

Oh, the Throne of I Don’t Care and the Court of Whatever the Funk series.

#11: Rainbow

Name a book that gives you all the feels.

Strange the Dreamer and Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor. My God, I’ve never pined for a book to be turned into a film so bad. My mind goes to such exquisite places whenever I read or think about this duology.

Series Review: Strange the Dreamer and Muse of Nightmares

#12: Movie night

Name a book-to-movie series adaptation that you’ve binge-watched.

Harry Potter. Honestly, there’s no better answer. When I see one, I see all the rest. It’s kind of a ritual.

Harry Potter Movie Marathon at Doc's Drive in Theatre - 7 MAR 2020

#13: Omg no spoilers please

Name a book that you’ve been spoiled for.

Girls Screaming In Pain GIFs | Tenor

Oh, I don’t remember any recent ones but if it counts I was spoiled about the endings to the Order of the Phoenix and the Half-blood Prince by a cousin. Yeah, thanks a bunch for nothing, little miss know-it-all. It was back when I hadn’t read more than 2 Harry Potter books and I was kinda focused on the films only.

#14: Sweet but sour

Name a book that is sweet but is sour in some way.

I’m guessing this means bittersweet? I’d pick Amar Bail by Umerah Ahmed. Literally all of her books are heart-breaking in some way or the other but the love story in Amar Bail was a special kind of torture. I binge-read it like an absolute maniac.

امربیل by Umera Ahmed
Posted in audiobook, Book Reviews

Stain by A.G. Howard – Audiobook Review

Stain has the distinction of being the first book I read after I got married. I had started it a couple of days before but it was so long I couldn’t make a dent in it. Then, things happened and when I finally ‘came to’ as it were, more than ten days had passed. Despite the long pause and weirdness in between (yes, I do refer to the early days of my marriage as weird), I loved the book.

Stain by A.G. Howard

It’s an unspoken rule for me that I have to wait at least a year before picking up the audiobook of that book. I was eagerly waiting to listen to Stain and I wasn’t disappointed. But, much like the first time I read it, there was something that almost tainted my experience.

What happened was, I had downloaded the book on torrent. When I started listening, I found, to my horror and annoyance, that the book skipped quite a bit. It was a 20 hour long audiobook but that missed sections shortened the length by half. I could not figure out what was wrong with it. Then, after I finished it, I checked utorrent and discovered that it hadn’t downloaded fully! UFF.

Downloaded it again and listened to it again over the next week.
Stain is the second audiobook I’ve listened to twice after The Watchmaker of Filigree Street. My reason for relistening to that one was to better understand everything.

It’s narrated by Tim Bruce. His accents were impeccable and impressive, I especially loved Cronie’s and Luce’s voices! Ah, so good!

Both versions of the book are fantastic and I highly recommend it!

10/10

Posted in Book Reviews

Books Read in August 2020

Hey, I managed to read 5 books in August! Give me a moment to applaud myself. Only one book was weird and disappointing, the other were decent enough. Alright, let’s get into it!

#1: TRUEL1F3

Amazon.com: TRUEL1F3 (Truelife) (LIFEL1K3 Book 3) eBook: Kristoff, Jay:  Kindle Store

It was a satisfying conclusion to an outstanding dystopian series! I missed reading such a well-constructed world after the Hunger Games! My favorite will forever be the first book in this trilogy.

#2: Nightbooks

Nightbooks by J.A. White

I did not think it could be really dark, given that most children’s books aren’t creepy or scary, but it was dark, and creepy and kinda scary at times!

#3: Unravel the Dusk

Unravel the Dusk (The Blood of Stars, #2) by Elizabeth Lim

Yes, this is the weird and disappointing book I was referring to earlier. The first book was amazing. A Mulan retelling that featured a seamstress, my two favorite things? No way! And yeah, it was fascinating. But the sequel bored me to tears, and was chock full of melodrama and angst.

#4: Seasons of the Storm

Seasons of the Storm (Seasons of the Storm, #1) by Elle Cosimano

Lemme get this straight: I WANT Jack Frost books, like, a lot of them. One every winter would be nice. There is little literature that features him as a protagonist, and I would love for writers to retell his tale. So, when I figured out that he was in this book, I was ecstatic. The book is unique in a lot of aspects, but the focus on the love story between the characters made it uninteresting past the half-way point.

#5: Ummul-Yaqeen

Ummal Yaqeen | Urdu Novel | for Android - APK Download

I love Sumaira Hameed! I can’t wait to read something as heartbreaking and heartwarming as Yaaram again, but until then, just anything by her would suffice.

Cheers!

Posted in Journal Entries, Me Stuff

Gypsy Diaries – August 2020

The Cheerful Adventures: goodbye July, hello August...

Wow, August made me feel like a machine. An ATM, actually. I had only one thing in mind and worked towards it with robotic single-mindedness: m-o-n-e-y.

Bugs Bunny GIF - Bugs Bunny Money - Discover & Share GIFs | Money  animation, Cartoon wallpaper, Cartoon pics

Oh, I could be another kind of machine, too; a worry machine. We’re best friends, worries, and I. Worries about my health, worries about my weight, worries about my hair, worries about getting pregnant, worries about finishing my day-to-day tasks, worries about my spiritual standing, I’m just a giant ball of worry.

Worried GIFs | Tenor

What I enjoyed most in August was:

  • the rains and cloudy skies
  • the slow shortening of days and lengthening of nights
  • the knowledge that winter is coming
  • my brother’s nikah
  • EID-ul-Azha
  • I went on a couple of shopping trips for sewing supplies and fabric. I hate shopping otherwise but I come alive when I go hunting for fabric!
  • I ate the famed Lahori ‘Bun Plaster’. Shami burgers are awesome anyways, but fried in butter? YUMM.
  • There were several family visits and gatherings but the one I had most fun at was at the end of the month. We were invited to my khala’s and the power was out. We spent all of the time running and playing upstairs in the dark. I ached all over the entire next day.
  • I cooked ‘shab deg’ and it turned out delicious.

I don’t recall having an unpleasant experience in August, so alhamdulillah for a good month.

Hello September Gif | October pictures, Months in a year, Hello october

Posted in Bookish Balderdash, tags

The ‘Stay At Home’ Book Tag!

Well, hello there.

quarantine gifs | WiffleGif

Lez do this!

Laying in Bed:

A Book You Could/Have Read in a Day

To my knowledge, I’ve never read a book in one day. Unless we’re talking about 100-page novellas, a good-sized book takes me at least 2 days to finish.

However, if I had enough time and managed to extend my attention span beyond 30 minutes of reading, I’d say Howl’ Moving Castle is the easiest to read in one sitting. I also read Urdu novels really fast.

Howl's Moving Castle gif. Forget Peeta and Rory. Howl ruined guys ...

Snacking:

A Guilty Pleasure Book

Oh, Urdu books, for sure. I read contemporary romances mostly. They’re all amazing and have some great messages and morals, but I’m only there for the lurve.

Top 10 Best Urdu Novels of All Time - Best Seller - Biographyio

Netflix:

A Series You Want to Start

All Brandon Sanderson series I haven’t read yet. I don’t know why I haven’t devoured all of his books yet. What am I even waiting for?

Best Brandon Sanderson GIFs | Gfycat

Deep Clean:

A Book That’s Been On Your TBR for Ages

Among others, Dark Matter by Blake Crouch.

Dark Matter: Amazon.co.uk: Crouch, Blake: 9781447297581: Books

Animal Crossing:

A Book You Recently Bought Because of Hype

I haven’t ‘bought’ a book in centuries. But the most hyped one I’ve read recently is The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins.

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes | The Hunger Games Wiki | Fandom

Productivity:

Book You Learned from or Had an Impact on You.

I remember reading The Bear and the Nightingale and being touched by the Vasya’s character. Her untamable spirit and differences from others were comforting to read about.

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

Facetime:

A Book You Were Gifted.

I remember only one instance of this, there may be more, but if they exist, my memory fails me: I was in 5th or 6th grade and healthily obsessed with Harry Potter. My best friend at the time gave me a pirated copy of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets because her uncle had bought her a better one, lol. It is still one of the best gifts I’ve ever received.

https://instagram.fisb4-1.fna.fbcdn.net/v/t51.2885-15/e35/118085330_758981528268133_6495042557803206032_n.jpg?_nc_ht=instagram.fisb4-1.fna.fbcdn.net&_nc_cat=101&_nc_ohc=j5QN62jpTWMAX9znv3S&oh=750ac58fde1e29b13afdc9b1adc5a7d1&oe=5F70E783

my Instagram

Self Care:

What is One Thing You Have Done Recently to Look After Yourself

Uh… Yes, I got one! I’ve been worried about the state of my hair for a while now. I used to be oblivious but thanks to Winnie the Pooh (husband), I realized that my hair isn’t that great. I’ve started using organic oil and shampoo, been doing it for 2 months. I haven’t seen improvement beyond the fact that it’s stopped falling so frequently?

https://instagram.fisb4-1.fna.fbcdn.net/v/t51.2885-15/e35/95589279_135801134724077_4465211277695137005_n.jpg?_nc_ht=instagram.fisb4-1.fna.fbcdn.net&_nc_cat=105&_nc_ohc=reDvhc0w_vcAX-v4qU7&oh=79ecb248a44991436d272129824a9841&oe=5F71528F

BONUS:

Name a Book Coming Out Soon That You’re Excited For

I’m dying to read more Attack on Titan volumes! The story is at its tail end and the month-long wait is excruciating.

Attack on titan vol 32 cover : titanfolk

Posted in Cool Sewing Projects, DIY

My Everyday Bag Tutorial (ish)

I swear this was going to be a proper tutorial with step-by-step pictures and all. But I straight up SUCK at doing this. I have zero patience, and once I start something, stopping every minute to take pictures is torture. Still, I did my best.

Note: My phone was out of space so I used my ancient iPad to take pictures. The quality is sucktacular, as you will soon be able to tell.

I have about 8 bags in total. Two of them are big bags, not ideal for daily use. I only take them out when I have to go stay at mama’s, as they fit a lot of stuff. Three are fancy cross-body bags, one of them has more space than the other but it’s really pretty and not suitable for regular use. The smallest one is the size of a large soap bar, and the third one is only slightly bigger. The two white totes are cool for when I go out shopping, I keep putting every purchase inside.

Handbag GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

What I needed was a crossbody bag I could keep my phone, cards, money, etc in, one that I could use on a regular basis. An every-day, everywhere kinda bag, so to speak. I recently acquired a dark-colored fabric and my bag-making instincts kicked into gear, so here’s what I came up with.

Best Bag Product Category GIFs | Gfycat

Warning: There be pockets!

So, the idea behind this bag was to make it as roomier and spacious as possible without it being too big. I favor medium-sized cross-body bags so this is what I aimed for.

You need to have moderate-to-high bag-making knowledge and skills to be able to follow what I’m saying because like I said, I can’t make it a step-by-step tutorial.

Cutting:

The building blocks of this bag are:

  • The front and back panels. You need to cut 8 pieces of the same size, 4 from your main fabric, and 4 from some thin lining fabric like silk.
  • Outside and inside pockets. It’s up to you, however many pockets you want and what type of pockets your want. But you need to assemble and attach your pockets to the each of the 4 main fabric pieces. I made smaller pockets for the inside of the bag and bigger pockets for the outside of the bag.

  • Once you’ve assembled 4 pieces with pockets, choose one piece which will be at the very front of the bag. Now, I usually work by estimation here: you need to add velcro a few centimeters above where your pocket starts. For that, I recommend using a piece where the pockets start at the middle of the piece or slightly above it.
  • Now, a flap. Measure the zipper edge of your bag and make the flap around 2″ shorter. The length of the flap you’ll have to estimate out on your own, mate. Cut two pieces of the flap. The inside piece will have velcro on it. You will attach this assembled flap to the piece that will make the back panel of your bag. Figure out how this flap will go over the front panel and then attach velcro to the flap accordingly.

  • The front and back panels are zipper pouches basically, but with raw edges. So you need to make two zipper pouches, determine what size works best for you and cut the pieces. Add thin lining, I used silk. Make zipper tabs and add to each end of both zippers. This will help in sewing later.

  • One of the outsides of each zipper pouch will make the front and back of the bag and the other will make the lining of the bag. I used the same fabric for both outside panels, like how zipper pouches are usually made. Then you need to attach each main fabric piece to its corresponding lining piece, wrong sides together, making one panel. Then attach both panels of each zipper pouch, linings together.

  • Then, one long strip of fabric that will make the sides and bottom of your bag. Measure three sides of one of your zipper pouch panels. This will be the length and you can make the width according to your preferences. 2″ will be enough, I think. Cut a corresponding lining piece. I used the main fabric for both. The outside and inside of my bag have the same fabric.
  • Straps. Two small straps that will jut out from either side of the bag, from the top of the gusset (the long strip I was talking about above). And one big strap. I didn’t make an adjustable strap. I make the big strap of a size that works for me and that is it. Your strap width will depend on the hardware that will connect the small and big straps.
  • Bias Tape. This will seal your raw edges at the very last step.

Process:

  • You already have the front and back zipper panels assembled, so now make the straps. Attach the small straps to one D-ring each and then attach one end of the bigger strap to each D-ring.
  • Take the main gusset piece. Place your strap contraption (small straps-D-ring-big strap all attached) on the top edge (the 2″ one) of the gusset piece so that the raw edges of each small strap is aligned with the top edge of the main gusset piece. This way the D-ring will be facing downward. Sew on top of both edges. Then take the lining gusset piece and place it wrong side up on top of what you’ve sewn. You’ll have the main gusset piece, right side up, the straps, raw edge on top, and then the lining gusset wrong side up sandwiched together. Sew on top.
  • When you turn this inside out, the straps will poke out from between the two gusset pieces which will be touching wrong sides together and right sides out. Iron and sew on top of the gusset piece and on the sides as well, firmly attaching everything and making this one whole piece that will be the sides and bottom of your bag.

  • Take the front zipper pouch panel of the bag, place it right side up. Take the gusset piece and place it right side down, the top edge of the gusset piece aligning with the top edge of the bag that has the zipper. Sew the gusset all the way to the other side of the zipper edge.

  • The raw edges will go inside the bag. Sew bias binding to cover the raw edges.

  • Sew the other side of the gusset piece to the back zipper pouch panel and then sew the bias tape to cover and seal the raw edges.
  • Aaaaaand, you’re done.

Bag GIFs | Tenor

I hope it made sense and I apologize if it didn’t. Either way, it gave me an excuse to post something new.

Cheers!

Posted in audiobook, Book Reviews

DEV1AT3 Audiobook Review

It’s narrated by Erin Spencer. She’s a regular narrator for Jay Kristoff and I absolutely love her voice! There are actually very few narrators who I haven’t liked. I love them all, I enjoy them all.

Erin Spencer
ASDFGHJKL SHE’S SO PRETTY

When I listened to LifeL1k3, I thought maybe someone with a stronger voice would have been better, the world of the books being rough and all. But I got used to her pretty fast and now I can’t imagine anyone else doing it.

Dev1at3: Lifel1k3 2 (Deviate: Lifelike 2) - Jay Kristoff ...

I read Deviate when I was in KSA last year. I spent close to six months there and anything and everything I did during that stay are special for me. I remember being sick and bed-ridden while reading this book on my phone. I hated everything around me, but this book made me feel better.

It’s one of the best YA Dystopian series to come out in a while, and I feel blessed. Thank you, Jay Kristoff.

10/10

Posted in Book Reviews

Books Read in July 2020

Gone are the days when I read 8-10 books a month. I can’t believe I used to do that.

SCHOOL FOR GOOD AND EVIL: ONE TRUE KING

The School For Good And Evil #6: One True King - By Soman Chainani ...

2.5/5

I’ve always thought positively of the School for Good and Evil Books, even when they were pants on head stupid sometimes. This *last* book is where my patience and goodwill ran its course. There’s only so much back and forth you can take and I had had my fill. This story should have ended with the third book.

PROSPER’S DEMON

Prosper's Demon by K.J. Parker
3/5

It was cool, in a creepy and unsettling way. I think a full-length book would have been nice as the story felt incomplete but I’m kinda sorta also glad it was just a novella?

NETWORK EFFECT

Network Effect (The Murderbot Diaries, #5) by Martha Wells
3.5/5

I don’t like Murderbot. Said no one ever. This series is gold, and the protagonist is the cutest, most adorable killing machine in the universe. It has feelings and stuff and it gets agitated around humans. Sounds familiar.

ATTACK ON TITAN: BEFORE THE FALL

Attack on Titan: Before the Fall, Vol. 1 by Hajime Isayama
2.75/5

I was bored a lot while reading this and the artwork wasn’t the greatest. The plot was a cool one but it was botched in the execution.

THE STEEL PRINCE: THE REBEL ARMY

Amazon.com: Shades of Magic: The Steel Prince #3.1: The Rebel Army ...
2.75/5

Fun, but completely unnecessary. Kell’s and Lilah’s pasts, plus the origins of the four Londons and the closing of the doorways were much interesting topics.

THE PRINCESS WILL SAVE YOU

The Princess Will Save You by Sarah Henning
2.5/5

The title and cover are bomb, the rest, sadly, is not. It’s a veritable snooze-fest.

Cheers!

Posted in Journal Entries, Me Stuff

Gypsy Diaries – July 2020

This time last year, I had been in Saudi Arabia for two months. This shitty pandemic has turned everything upside down, and while I’m grateful that I got to spend more than one month with my husband, the damage this situation has caused is far greater than the benefits.

July’s highlights were the rains and Ask Laftan Anlamaz which I started watching after seeing a bookstagrammer’s stories. Also the five blissful days I spent at mama’s.

Elhamdürillah derken ki rahatlamışlık,sevinç,mutluluk... Gerçekten ohh

The eve of the 31st was the beginning of the first day of Eid which is always such a bittersweet time for me. It makes me remember the old chaand raats we used to spend with our cousins, talking all night, watching movies and doing mehndi. Now, it’s just me with a tube of mehndi all alone in the room.

July was not a boring month. It wasn’t a bad month. It was a normal, okay month.