Posted in Book Boxes, Bookish Balderdash

BOOK SWAG: Unboxing Bookish Subscription Box

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

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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.

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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:

1- Incense:

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?

Help?



 

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?

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Cheers!

 

 

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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!

LET’S DO THIS!

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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.

  • LOCKE LAMORA
  • JEAN TANNEN
  • CALO and GALDO SANZA

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All four from the same series.

Favorite New Character:

I’m glad you asked.

  • LOCKE LAMORA
  • JEAN TANNEN
  • CALO and GALDO SANZA

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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

A post shared by Sara Saif (@burqabelle) on

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

Cheers!

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:

4/5

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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):

2.5/5

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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):

3/5

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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:

4/5

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

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The Cruel Prince:

2/5

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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:

3/5

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:

4/5

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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

Cheers!

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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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.

The Cast:

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.

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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.”

EH? EH?

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.

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Cheers!

 

 

 

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?

FICTION.
FICTION.
FICK-SHUUUUUUUUUUUNNNNNNNN

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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?

Chai.

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Hot Chocolate: 0
Coffee: 0
Chai: ∞

Cheers!

 

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

2.5/5

Feh. Boring.

Ice Wolves

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3/5

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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5/5

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.

OBSIDIO

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5/5

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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5/5

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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4/5

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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10/5

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A Whole New World

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2/5

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

Heart of Iron

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5/5

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!

Cheers.

 

Posted in Bookish Balderdash, Cool Sewing Projects

I Made A Book Bag!

I had the idea about three months ago, took one and half of those for me to start, another half to actually do it and one more to take pictures and post on my Instagram.

This was a whole new undertaking. It was fun, but mostly a HUGE pain in the ass.

Disclaimer:

  • The design is original in every respect. I did not copy from anywhere.
  • ALL PICTURES ARE MINE, OKAY?

Image may contain: makeup

Verily, the hardest part was the embroidery, and also the longest. I’m not exactly a pro at it, I know a total of four stitches and those are the ones I used in this.

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I used a mid to large sized paperback for size. Cut pieces of this pink cotton that attracted me and was also the reason I went with Emma by Jane Austen, a book I haven’t actually read. First did the embroidery, then used this thin fusible interfacing to lock everything in place and also to make it stronger and then used felt interfacing to give the bag a body of its own.

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I should have left the back alone but noooooo I had to do this too. My copy of Prisoner of Azkaban which is a small to medium sized hardback, fit like a glove inside it.

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I attached the zipper and the sides to the bag (the bottom was cut with the front and back as one large piece) “wrong” sides together. It was because I wanted to attach bias tape all along the edges which I thought would give it a nice hardback feel. Well, it did but it was also THE most frustrating thing ever because I had kept the depth really small and my sewing foot kept bumping into the rectangular hardware rings.

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I have this really nice pink perfume fabric that has vintage-ish vibes and that’s the one I used as bias tape. I love how well it goes with the theme of the book! Words like Veritable, Paris, France and Cologne are visible.

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The zipper goes all along the top lip which is the right long edge of a book, if you will, and down about an inch from each side.

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I made the sides from this creamy cotton fabric on which I stitched lines to give the illusion of pages.

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I take it back, the hardest part was attaching the sides to the bag. The second hardest was the bias tape. Third hardest was embroidery.

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The cute AF spine.

Since I attached wrong sides together, there are no seams inside. I don’t have a serger or even a machine that does zig-zag stitches so my biggest concern, ALWAYS, is to hide the seams. Since I’m paranoid, I think that everything will fray and come apart and that would be an epic fail.

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I used this silk for lining, which again coordinated perfectly. Masha Allah.

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For the strap, I wrote the quotes from the book on plain white material with fabric marker. In what was definitively, not my best writing.

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And that is it! If you’re from Pakistan, there’s a giveaway happening on my Instagram pages in which I’m giving away THIS VERY BAG and a booksleeve, a bookmark and a mug coaster, all three are Harry Potter themed. If you’re not from Pakistan, eh, check it out anyway?

Cheers!

 

Posted in Bookish Balderdash, tags

Greek Mythology Bookish Survey

Another month, another tag.

I have a shelf called “Mother of All Books Sweet and Pure” on Goodreads. It’s an exclusive Harry Potter shelf. Nothing will ever be put in that shelf besides HP. So basically, it’s the highest, untouchable, not for comparison shelf. Number 0.

My number 1 shelf is called “My Friends You Bow To No One” and it is where my all time favorites go after Harry Potter. Percy Jackson happens to be on that list.

LET’S DO THIS!

PART I: GODS OF OLYMPUS

ZEUS/JUPITER

(God of Sky and Thunder, King of the Oympians)

Favorite book:

I’ve recently read To Kill A Kingdom by Alexandra Christo and I was struck dumb with awe. It was electrifying, the chemistry between the protagonists was sizzling. Okay, I’ll stop. Tee Hee. It’s a retelling of The Little Mermaid while I was under the false impression that it was a villain origin story of Ursula. It’s the tentacles. Anyway, it didn’t end tragically is what I’m saying.

POSEIDON/NEPTUNE

(God of the Seas and Earthquakes)

A Book that drowned you in feels:

Whichwood by Tahereh Mafi. BY GOD. You will experience the depths of despair. It’s the subject matter as much as the beautiful writing. It’s unlike anything I’ve read (I say that to all the books ssshhhh) and I felt such overwhelming love and adoration for the main character.

HADES/PLUTO

(God of the Underworld)

Favorite book with a dark/ominous plot:

IT by Stephen King. Come now, can there be anything else? Like no book can compete. Dark, ominous, disturbing, revolting, horrifying, it’s got all the ingredients that can cheer you up.

HERA/JUNO

(Goddess of Marriage and Family)

Cutest fictional couple:

Vasya and Morozko from the Winternight series by Katherine Arden. A brave girl and the god of Frost and Death, yes, they are extremely cute.

ATHENA/MINERVA

(Goddess of Wisdom, Handicraft and Strategic Warfare)

Series with the best world-building:

All of the books I mentioned above have excellent world-building. It’s hard to choose one in this category. A series that I read recently called The Mortal Engines is a delightful hybrid of whimsical and serious and it features one of the grimmest and darkest settings I’ve ever read about.

Hungry-City-Chronicles

APHRODITE/VENUS

(Goddess of Love and Beauty)

Book with the most beautiful cover:

There are many but I haven’t read most of them. I do feel, however, that The Shape of Water has the most gorgeous cover I’ve seen in a while.

ARES/MARS

(God of War and Bloodshed)

Most violent book you’ve ever read:

The Red Rising formerly trilogy now a series. The people in those books are all insane and blood-thirsty. They legit look for excuses to murder each other for the stupidest of reasons not the least of which is ‘honor’. Feh.

HEPHAESTUS/VULCAN

(God of Blacksmiths and Fire)

Scorching-hot swoon-worthy character:

It might be a little inappropriate since he’s borderline crazy. He also doesn’t fit the typical description of such a character but I LOVE him. Locke Lamora from the Gentleman Bastard series and Prince Elian Midas from To Kill A Kingdom who totally fits the description and is not crazy at all. Green eyes and jet black hair is my weakness.

ARTEMIS/DIANA

(Goddess of Hunt and Virginity)

Favorite Kick-Ass Heroine:

Vasilisa Petrovna from the Winternight series. She’s stunning.

PHOEBUS APOLLO/APOLLO

(God of Light and Healing)

Sequel book that redeemed its series:

Rebel Spring or maybe Gathering Darkness from Falling Kingdoms. I didn’t like the first book when I started reading this series last year but by the second and fully by the third, I was hooked.

HERMES/MERCURY

(Messenger God of Thieves and Commerce)

Book with the best message:

Jannat Kay Pattay and Naml by Nemrah Ahmed have great messages. Both were inspiring, the former was life-changing. It made me a bit more self-assured and confident in how I chose to be.

HESTIA/VESTA

(Goddess of Hearth and Home)

Book with the most relatable story:

Again, Jannat Kay Pattay. It means ‘Leaves of Heaven’ and it’s partially a love story and partially about a girl named Haya finding her footing in life after a life-altering decision she makes.

DEMETER/CERES

(Goddess of Fertility and Agriculture)

Favorite bookish setting:

There are SO many answers to that. If I loved a book, I most probably liked its setting so all of the above books? Also, The Lunar Chronicles.

DIONYSUS/BACCHUS

(God of Wine and Celebration)

A new release you’re most anticipating:

Obsidio by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kauffman. Those two can whip up a storm. The first two books punched me in the gut, repeatedly.

Part II: Heroes of Olympus

PERCY JACKSON

A brave, spirited natural leader with a sarcastic sense of humor, and a will to save friends and enemies alike

Favorite protagonist:

Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, all the characters from the Lunar Chronicles, Howl from Howl’s Moving Castle, Septimus Heap from Magyk, Locke Lamora and Jean Tannen from The Gentleman Bastard series, Shahdil from Dil Ka Nagar, Cihan Sikander from Jannat Kay Pattey, Faris Ghazi from Naml

ANNABETH CHASE

Intellectual genius with a strong mind, brave heart, and a love for architecture

Series/book with the cleverest plot:

The School For Good and Evil series with its amusing conflicts is super fun. Another one that comes to mind is the Illuminae series.

JASON GRACE

Has a moderate sense of humor, but a strong sense of honor, justice and compassion, often described as perfect

Book with an epic finale:

A Darkling Plain (Hungry City Chronicles # 4) was pretty epic. This series is underrated as heck. It deserves more recognition and praise. The mixed tones of the books is what sets them apart. One minute they’re fun and amusing and then BANG murder slash kill.

PIPER MCLEAN

Fierce and persuasive but down to earth, caring and loving towards her friends and family

Book with a tempting synopsis (one you haven’t read):

Gods, Monsters and the Lucky Peach by Kelly Robson. Apparently it’s sci-fi. The title and the cover have me super duper hyped.

LEO VALDEZ

Good-natured and energetic, funny but intelligent, honest and witty, and is skilled with machines

Book that made you laugh:

The Princess Bride and My Lady Jane were pretty hilarious.

HAZEL LEVESQUE

Bright and outgoing despite an unfortunate childhood, is mature for her age

Favorite character with a tragic past:

Hester Shaw from the Hungry City chronicles.

FRANK ZHANG

Somewhat shy, cynical, and clumsy, though he possesses a strong sense of duty, loyalty, and love

Book you loved more than you thought you would:

Let The Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist. It’s just a few shades behind IT in terms of being disturbing and totally riveting. I had to just take some time to get over it because it affected me.

And also, the Hunter trilogy by Mercedes Lackey. I had read nothing but negative reviews of the first book but I still read it and it was awesome.

NICO DI ANGELO

Grim, solitary, powerful and mysterious, highly unpredictable and selectively affectionate

Most mysterious character you’ve ever encountered:

Morozko, the Frost King from the Winternight series. He’s ancient and besides has this elusiveness that makes me a delightful enigma.

GROVER UNDERWOOD

Cheerful, upbeat and protective satyr who chews on furniture when he gets nervous

Book you won’t read due to warnings against them:

Every Sarah J. Maas book. But especially the A Court of dramatic word and dramatic word series. I will, however, be reading Catwoman.

CLARISSE LA RUE

Arrogant and hot-tempered, but brave, strong and protective of camp

Most annoying character:

Delilah Bard from the Shades of Magic trilogy by V.E. Schwab.

Uff, I can’t. Even thinking about her makes me mad. I’m quoting myself from my review of the second book in the series:

Hey there, Delilah
What’s it like being so nutty
I feel grateful that your fictional because,
You’re disturbing, I mean no kidding
Yes, I do
Nutcases are sane compared to you
I swear it’s true


I’m being a little dramatic. Just a little. The girl’s intriguing I’ll give her that. You want to know what she’ll do next. My grudging admiration of her from the first book turned to total dislike in this one. I tried to find a reason behind her vicious nature at first but I came up with nothing because I’ve read characters with pasts worse than hers and they’d look like fluffy bunnies next to her. No, there’s no reason behind this. She’s like that because she just is. And I’m sure I don’t like it. Kickassery, arrogance and recklessness are fine and good, up to a certain limit. She’s too cocky, too audacious and over adventurous. Cross-dressing and being courageous and daring is one thing, this is quite another.

PHEW.

I’ve been writing this post for FIVE days. And now I’m done. SWEET RELIEF.

Consider yourselves tagged!

Cheers!

Posted in Book Reviews, Bookish Balderdash

Books Read in February & March TBR

NINE books. I read NINE BOOKS in February.

In chronological order:

Robots Vs Fairies:

3/5

Naturally, it was irresistible. However, the stories were less than satisfactory. Every author tried to bring both technology and fae in their stories, some had only one of the two but every author was either Team Fairy or Team Robot.

The Starlit Wood:

2.75/5

Picked right after Robots Vs Fairies because it was advertised at the back and another anthology sounded good. Let me tell you something, it’s hard to like or understand a retelling when you don’t even know the original. The Mouse, the Bird and the Sausage? What. the. fuck? 80% of the authors went for unheard of fairytales which killed it for me.

Apex (Hunter # 3):

4/5

This was a entertaining trilogy, there’s a lot of humans-with-magic versus Fae-from-another-dimension battles but I felt that it lacked grandness of scale and ingenuity in plot. Three books and the fighting is all that happens. Still, highly entertaining.

Quests For Glory (School For Good and Evil – Camelot Years # 1):

5/5

I LOVED it! After Good Vs Evil and Boys Vs Girls I didn’t think Soman Chainai would come up with something as amusing, he did but it’s more serious and mature this time. It was very exciting and I didn’t once feel that this new series was unwarranted.

Burqay:

2.95/5

This was my first Manto and despite being dry and tedious and a bit nosy, I found it fascinating.

Sightwitch (The Witchlands # 0.5):

4.5/5

This is a very confusing world, and while I originally wanted a full length book, this novella provided ample backstory.

Immortal Reign (Falling Kingdoms # 6):

3/5

Ah, disappointments, disappointments. I had genuinely grown to love this series but this last book was the height of pointlessness.

Unearthed:

5/5

ASDFGHJKL…

I loved this book so much. Aliens, new planets, tombs, spaceships, other things, SPACESHIPS, doom, portals, SPACESHEEEEEEEEPS!!!!

The Ancient Magus’s Bride Vol. 5:

3/5

Okay-ish. Nothing special.

March TBR

I’ve already read Iron Gold (Red Rising # 4) by Pierece Brown and I’m currently reading To Kill A Kingdom by Alexandra Christo. Books I really, really want to read hopefully this month are:

  • The Shape of Water
  • Batman: Nightwalker
  • Tess of the Road
  • Want
  • A Conspiracy of Stars
  • The Final Six
  • Gods, Monsters and the Lucky Peach

Cheers!