Posted in Book Reviews, Bookish Balderdash, tags, Uncategorized

The Mid-Year Book Freakout Tag!

I did this last year as well. My, how time flies!


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Counting till the end of June, I’ve read 52 books.

Best Book(s) Read So Far in 2018:

Come on, there can never be just one. No one is that unlucky.

  • To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo
  • A Conspiracy of Stars by Olivia A. Cole
  • Heart of Iron by Ashley Poston
  • Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman
  • IT by Stephen King

Best Sequel(s) Read So Far in 2018:

  • The Girl in the Tower (sequel to The Bear and the Nightingale) by Katherine Arden
  • Blood of a Thousand Stars (sequel to Empress of a Thousand Skies) by Rhoda Belleza
  • The Republic of Thieves (Gentlemen Bastards # 4) by Scott Lynch
  • A Darkling Plain (Predator Cities # 4) by Philip Reeve
  • Anne of Windy Poplars (Anne of Green Gables # 4) by L.M. Montgomery

New Release(s) I Haven’t Read But Want To:

  • My Plain Jane by three female authors
  • Legendary (Caraval # 2) by Stephanie Garber
  • Gone Rogue (Wires and Nerve # 2) by Marissa Meyer

Most Anticipated Release(s) For the Second-Half of 2018:

  • Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik
  • The Sea Witch by Sarah Henning
  • The Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor

Biggest Disappointment:

Disappointment suggests expectations so these are the ones I ‘expected’ to be good.

  • The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
  • The Extinction Trials by S.M. Wilson
  • The Shape of Water by Guillermo Del Toro
  • Iron Gold by Pierce Brown
  • A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan

Biggest Surprise:

Hmm… there hasn’t been a very big surprise so far. But I guess:

  • the Hunter trilogy by Mercedes Lackey?
    Because there were a lot of negative reviews and I had expected it to be bad, instead I enjoyed all three books quite a bit.
  • Also, Whichwood by Tahereh Mafi. I did not like Furthermore but this was so, so heart-breakingly good.

Favorite New Author (Debut or New to Me):

  • Scott Lynch (The Gentlemen Bastards series)
  • Philip Reeve (The Predator City Chronicles)

Newest Fictional Crush:

I’m glad you asked.


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All four from the same series.

Favorite New Character:

I’m glad you asked.


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A Book That Made Me Cry:

Well, none. But Tess of the Road gave me bittersweet pangs.

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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.

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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)

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Favorite Review I’ve Written This Year:

Probably of The Extinction Trials.

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The Most Beautiful Book You Bought Or Received This Year:

I have been waiting to read this for months. Nothing was stopping me, I just didn't wanna read it and wait an eternity for the next book. Because this author has the habit of releasing his books every ten years.😭 This came out, what, three four years ago? And there's still no release date for the fourth. The book in question is The Republic of Thieves (Locke Lamora/Gentleman Bastards # 4). Heard of Six of Crows? This series is a more intricate, intense and ruthless cousin. Kaz may as well be Locke's inexperienced little brother. Totally rocking this picture is my dad's magnificent ittr bottle.🔮 The book I finished today was really fun except it had one problem: THREE love interests. Huh. Might as well make them four or five or ten.😐 What I'm most excited to read next is a novella called "Gods, Monsters and the Lucky Peach". Sounds intriguing, yeah?! On the cover there is an old lady with octopus body, tentacles and all, from the waist down. It's sci-fi. #bookstagram #bookstagrampak #bookstagrampakistan #bookstagramming #bookstagrammer #booksofinstagram #booktography #booktographer #bookphotographer #reader #readersofinstagram #bibliophile #bookish #bookaholic #booknerd #bookworm #lockelamora #vintagefeels #perfumebottle #opulent #therepublicofthieves #scottlynch #thegentlemanbastardsequence #exquisitecovers #ittr #newbook #anticipatedreads #adultfantasy #highfantasy #thieves

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Books I Need to Read by the End of the Year:

  • Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson (like, seriously)
  • Sequels to all the books I’ve read before
  • The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley
  • The Silmarillion and other short stories by J.R.R. Tolkien


Posted in Book Reviews, Bookish Balderdash

Books Read In June and July TBR List

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.

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The Two Towers:


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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.

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خدا کی بستی (God’s Own Land):


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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.

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Welcome to Dead House (Goosebumps # 1):


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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.

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Anne’s House of Dreams:


It was lovely and bittersweet, much like all the Anne books before.

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The Cruel Prince:


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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.

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The Outcast:


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.

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Only Human:


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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.

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July TBR Options:

  1. I’d really like to get to The Silmarillion this month, and possibly even The Return of the King.
  2. A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir
  3. The Charmed Children of Rookskill Castle by Janet Fox (you should see the cover)
  4. Legendary by Stephanie Garber
  5. My Plain Jane by three authors
  6. Furyborn by Claire Legrand
  7. Want by Cindy Pon
  8. Wires and Nerve: Gone Rogue by Marissa Meyer
  9. All the Ever Afters by Danielle Teller


Posted in Book Reviews, Bookish Balderdash, Film Reviews

The Mortal Engines Trailer Breakdown

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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!!!!

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Let’s break it down, shall we? So I can scream about each second individually.

The Cast:

Okay, okay, I’ll be calm about this…. Nah.


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.

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Look at her! My God, I will cry! That IS Ana Fang! I LOVE HER!!!

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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…

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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.

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Awkward… Whomever made this must have steam coming out of their ears, I imagine.

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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:

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This one is the most accurate because Hester’s face is permanently disfigured into a sneer:

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Trailer Analysis:

  • 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!!!

Kick it girl!

You can guess what happens next

  • 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.


Posted in Book Reviews, Bookish Balderdash, tags

The Literary Dinner Party – Book Tag

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.

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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.

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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 Elian Midas 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

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.





Posted in Book Reviews

Books Read in May & June TBR

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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:


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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.

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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.

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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.

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  • 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
  • All the Ever Afters by Danielle Teller


Posted in Book Reviews, Bookish Balderdash, tags

“Bookish This or That” Tag

Me, with another book tag.

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Doing one after two months. Luckily, I found a simple and straight-forward one this time.

1. Audiobook or Text Book?

Text book, for sure. But audio books are great for re-reads as I’m now discovering. See, I loved the Locke Lamora books and I really wanted to read them again but I stopped rereading a while ago, there are simply too many books out there, waiting to be read.

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So what I’ve been doing for the past week or so is that I listen to the audio book while I sew. It’s two birds with one stone, sewing and reading/listening, plus I get to read whatever I want as usual.

Text Book: 7
Audio Book: 3

2. Paperback or Hardback?

I do not have a preference.*shrugs*

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Paperback: 5
Hardback: 5

3. Fiction or Non Fiction?


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Fiction: 10
Non-fiction: 0

4. Harry Potter or Twilight?

There’s a phrase in English, it’s called “righteous indignation”. When I’m asked a question as colossally stupid and non-sensical as this one, that’s what I’m filled with. HOW DARE YOU, SIR? Twilight doesn’t even deserve to be in the same sentence. As Harry Potter. See what I did?

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Harry Potter: 10
Twilight: -∞

5. Bookshop or Online?

Erm, well… online. It’s convenient in a thousand different ways and it’s what I’m instinctively drawn towards as a person. Having said that, I’m not totally opposed to the idea of browsing in book shops. It’s fun, if a little depressing.

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Online: 7
Bookshops: 3

6. Standalone or Series?

Both! It’s a blessing they both exist.

Standalone: 5
Series: 5

7. Sweet and Short or Heavy and Long?

Neither? I like them in all flavors in medium length. That being 300-600 pages at most.

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8. Cosy Read/ Reading in the Sun?

Definitely not reading in the sun. Cosy reading for me is being alone, where there is quiet with something to munch on. Reading in the sun means going outside, and that is unacceptable. I’m allergic to the outside.

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Cosy Reading: 10
Reading in the sun: 0

9. Hot chocolate or coffee?


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Hot Chocolate: 0
Coffee: 0
Chai: ∞



Posted in Book Reviews, Bookish Balderdash

Books Read in April and May TBR

So here are the nine (obviously) books I read this month. I’m out of witty opening lines.

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The Anceint Magus’s Bride Vol. 7


Feh. Boring.

Ice Wolves

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I expected more from this but even though the parts about “Essence” and ice wolves and dragons were fascinating, this was rather dull for a middle-grade book.

A Conspiracy of Stars

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S.U.B.L.I.M.E! It reminded me of Avatar (film). It was incredible and so mysterious and intriguing, just the kind of sci-fi I love.


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Had to say good-bye to this beautiful, beautiful trilogy. There were some new characters who didn’t leave an impact but the old ones were awesome as usual and if I doubted it before I became a 100% certain that I had fallen in love with the series’ psychotic, homicidal Artificial Intelligence AIDAN.

The Final Six

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I was able to finish this within 24 hours which is a testament to how gripping and easy to get lost in this book is. Another great sci-fi.

All Systems Red: The Murderbot Diaries

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A novella, it was a really amusing and entertaining book all because of the protagonist: a cyborg/android that calls itself murderbot. The way it deals with human interactions and emotions was fascinating plus it was hilarious and sarcastic which is always a plus.

The Republic of Thieves

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A Whole New World

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Eurgh. Terrible. Just terrible. A “retelling” of Aladdin. Retelling, my butt.

Heart of Iron

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I had my issues which I loudly communicated in a review but this was a solid, spectacular and impressive book.

I read a ton of sci-fi this month, all of them I loved very much.

As for May, I have a couple books in mind that I want to read ASAP:

  • The Mistborn trilogy by Brandon Sanderson
  • Dark Matter by Blake Crouch
  • The Burning Maze by Rick Riordan
  • Only Human (Themis Files # 3) by Sylvain Nuevel
  • War Storm (Red Queen # 4) by Victoria Aveyard

And that is it!



Posted in Book Reviews, Urdu Dramas

Haalim Episode 12 – سلطان ساز Review

Before I give in to the feels and write this review, there are two things I need to mention here.

ONE: My blog is a year old today! *wipes aansoo*
TWO: While discussing the last episode with a close friend, this conversation happened which I promised myself I’d put up in this review:


There’s still innocence in this world, is all I’m saying.

Now, this episode. It was one of THE best episodes of this book which was apt since it marked ONE YEAR of Haalim. 12 months, 12 episodes, I can’t believe it. This book is as old as my blog. Aww. It was also a 100 pages long which takes roughly three hours for me to read, possibly more. But every single one of these pages was incredible and I’m still bedazzled by the beauty of this episode.

At this point I feel bad for all of them, I adore all of them and I understand all of them. Even Ashar. I think the readers realize how amazing that is. Ashar wasn’t always a jerk who betrayed his family, he went through his fair share to get where he is now and reading the scene where he goes to talk to his sister about the papers he’s about to submit broke my heart. They all have an origin story and we just impatiently form opinions before we get to know what that story is.

Same with Asra. I do not exactly forgive her for how she played a part in Ashar’s change of heart but siblings are like that. I know that first hand. But she’s not living in a fairy tale either. She and Faateh are just about finished and there’s no one side you can pick. Yeah, why should she endure all the scrutiny and struggle again after giving her entire life to Faateh’s cause, her time, her career, her daughter? If that’s what partners do then Faateh hasn’t exactly been forthcoming either. He’s not a gentle husband, he’s not even a present husband but then again, he’s burdened by the enormity of his dream the battle he has to forge every day to make it come true. They both need someone to support them but they’ve realized that it’s not gonna be each other.

These people’s lives are complicated beyond imagining, tangled and frustrating and there was never going to be any black and white here.

This book is a short guide to politics and I appreciate the lessons I learn every month. Like I’m sure 98% of the rest I also did not know the true meaning of First/Second/Third World Countries.

The biggest change to happen was Taaliya’s decision to live with a clean slate from then on and the instigator of that was a combination of Faateh’s influence, him losing his memory and her realization of her true self. She struggled and fought, oh yes but she is Taaliya and she is strong and for once, I did not think it against her that he rose back up quickly and put things into perspective. She always has a plan. I absolutely loved the part where she made a new, true profile for herself and decided to base the rest of her life on that. Not only was that “trick” an effective psychological motivator it was her taking the first step.

However, there was one particular moment I did not like and that was Haalim asking Faateh questions in a very Taaliya-like way on the phone. I thought this was a very out-of-character thing to do for Haalim at least and it was odd besides. Haalim is supposed to be this all-knowing, super-smart and mysterious investigator who knows everything about everyone and this conversation made a dent in that because of Taaliya’s emotional vulnerability at the time.

And our favorite historian (yes, well, I’ve warmed up to him) Adam! Such a diva that guy. I’m referring to the scene where he finds a neighbor school girl pouring over Bangara Ya Malayo and she says in a very Ahmar like way that “…chowk main durre parne chahyen” then Adam HMMPHS and stomps away. I wanted to hug him then. And Datin and Adam’s stand-off gave me life. It also gave me the thought that while I never liked Taaliya and Datin as a team, Datin and Adam together just might prove to be hilarious sidekicks. I just hope he finds what he’s looking for and stops waiting to be lead.

Taaliya as Faateh’s body woman. YAAAAASSSSSSSS. Dude, you’ve no idea what you’ve unleashed. This scenario is many different kinds of win, I can’t. While she’s inevitably going to be promoted or something I can’t wait to see what kind of confrontations and revelations this leads to. He has unintentionally given Taaliya the perfect job, not only does her capabilities suit this line of work, this gives the two of them the best opportunity to remain by each other’s side which is what they both wanted. *sniff*

Also, we’ll see if her proximity and the habits he has acquired plus the discrepancies in his memory affect his narrative memory and trigger those forgotten moments to come flooding back.

Rating: 5/5

Quote of the Episode:

مرد عورتوں کو مضبوط بننے کے لۓ تو کہتے ہیں لیکن وہ خود کو ان مضبوط عورتوں کے لۓ تیار نہیں کرتے

Posted in Book Reviews

Books Read in March and April To-Read Wish List

Nine books a month has become a thing of mine. I intend to keep it that way.

Say Masha Allah.


Iron Gold: 3/5

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This was Red Rising # 4. And while I enjoyed the original trilogy, this one began to wear me out of this world. Each and everyone in these books is a blood-thirsty jack-ass, just waiting for a reason to fight and go to war. Things escalate pretty quickly and it’s not pretty. None of the characters are likable.

Ziddi: 4.5/5

My first ever book by Ismat Chughtai. BY GOD, I LOVED IT. At first it was sweet and funny and I was like aww and then SHAZAM. You’ll never see it coming, just heed that warning.

To Kill A Kingdom: 6/5

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The Shape of Water: 3/5

Eh. I wanted more background story on the amphibious man. There was none. Instead, the book takes this fantastic creature and explores relevant themes like racism, sexism, misogyny, abuse of power, PTSD. Eh.

Blood of A Thousand Stars: 4/5

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This was the last book in the duology and I genuinely think there should have been at least one more book. Not only because this series was amazing but also because it felt rushed.

A Poison Dark and Drwoning: 4/5

This was a sequel too and I enjoyed it very much. Magic, sorcery, witchcraft and monsters from another dimension=sweetness. THREE love interests= the opposite of sweetness.

Gods, Monsters and the Lucky Peach: 2.75/5

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If you want to be choked by techno-talk and just be bamboozled and clueless and bored, then yeah, go ahead. At least it’s short.

Batman: Nightwalker: 3/5

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Lackluster. It’s before he became Batman, he’s eighteen, and it’s not even an origin story. More like a few months in the life of Bruce Wayne. A few very boring and uneventful months. Loved the writing though.

The Ancient Magus’s Bride: 3/5

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I read these just to come up to my nine book count. Otherwise they offer nothing new from the anime.


These are the ones I desperately want to read:

  1. OBSIDIO by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kauffman
  2. Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman
  3. The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch
  4. The Merry Spinster by Daniel Mallory Ortberg
  5. The Final Six by Alexandra Monir
  6. War Storm by Victoria Aveyard (I hate this series but I wanna see how it ends)
  7. Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

I’ve already read The Ice Wolves by Amie Kauffman and am currently reading A Conspiracy of Stars by Olivia Cole.

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Posted in Book Reviews, Urdu Novels

Haalim Episode 11: وقت کے اس پار – Review


Nemrah Ahmed struck again, this time, with feeling.


I really want to find something to complain about here. About the fact that they went home nice and easy. Except that they didn’t go home nice and easy. It took four months. They planned, they schemed, they rose above and now they’re back. HOLY COW.

We should have seen this coming, it was all there. Saying this was clever would be the understatement of the year since everything about this book is clever and sneaky. I just didn’t expect it to hit me like it did. It was sad, man, made all the more strong and astonishing by the fact that for the first time in a long time, I felt myself warming up to Faateh. That poor soul.

My absolute favorite moments were the Taliyah Faateh moments: the scene in the prison cell, in the jungle right before they went through the Gate and at night in Sun Bao’s courtyard. It is indeed very lonely at the top.

The email he wrote to Adam was so full of emotion. I felt his desperation as he wrote those words, especially concerning Taliya. It was like a drowning man grasping for straws. He never would have admitted this otherwise but just on the verge of his impending loss, he let himself feel and admit. Strained and stilted personal relationships, lack of support from someone he needs the most, knowledge of Aryana’s gruesome death, keeping that secret from his wife, the burden of leadership, the struggle of achieving his goals, it all caught up as he confessed that yes, he does need someone with him, by his side and he wants it to be Taliya. The paper marriage wasn’t as easily breakable as he thought. Predictable, yeah, but not without meaning.

And I also felt his guilt towards Adam. He knew Adam had begun to have feelings for Taliya and so he kept himself a little distant from Adam. He tried to make it up to him by sending him the email and asking him to keep the two of them safe, just like he asked Taliya to do the same. This entire situation touched my heart and finally melted the ice around it when it came to Faateh. How long it will last, I don’t know.

It was a noble thing he did but it eventually served him too, like he said, he needs to forget all this if he’s to become KL’s present Bandhara.


This is my favorite quote in the whole episode because I feel strongly the truth of this, always have.

This was an episode full of emotion. It was heart-warming in a way it has never managed to be before. Taliya and Adam’s repartee, her personal moments with Faateh, all three together again, I loved it all. I obviously didn’t know that they were gonna go back but as it became imminent I realized the atmosphere was perfect and foreboding from the beginning.

No way do I believe that this is it. I’ve said it time and again, Nemrah Ahmed’s protagonists are inhumanly cunning. If there is a way to restore Faateh’s memories, Taliya will find it. They are going to back at some point for sure. Besides that, a man as tactical as Faateh will have thought of something. If he wrote an email to Adam, he had the whole night to himself, perhaps he wrote some to himself and timed them too? Also, and this just came back to me all of a sudden, Adam’s mother at one point said something about his Uncle having the gift of vision like Taliya? That will come up too.

It’s a testament to the glorious development in this episode or should I say, this story that despite hating everybody’s guts two episodes ago, I feel protective and fond of them all. I disliked Adam for the fool he was being, I ship him and Taliya now. I loathed Faateh and his attitude, I ship him and Taliya now AND I’ve begun to like him. It’s a 50/50. DAMN IT.

This episode made me connect with Faateh more than before. The extent to which high ambitions and dreams cost a person became painfully apparent. He had no one else to lean to for strength and support so he thought he had become impervious to it, Faateh needs no one else, he repeated it again and again and almost started believing it. Then he finally found someone strong and smart and willingly giving that support, only to lose them again.

Buddy, I’m here. I see you.

My Rating: 5/5