Posted in Bookish Balderdash

The Harry Potter Spells Tag

Statistics have shown that doing book tags causes more traffic on your blog. Great.

So please…

Nothing goes wrong when something has the words “Harry” and “Potter” together in it somewhere, eh? Before I do this, I just wanna make it clear: I don’t keep track of these things. As in, what’s my favorite ___ and ___ and stuff. I have opened my Goodreads “read” shelf and for every question I’ll be scouring through my books to see if anyone of them fits the question.

Let the magic begin!

Expecto Patronum!

A childhood book connected to good memories

All I read when I was a kid were Urdu storybooks, some of which I already have. So, all of them really. I was particularly fond of Naqli Shehzadi (Dummy Princess) and another one that had folktales from different cultures translated into Urdu.


Or alternatively: Your spirit animal book

Jannat Kay Pattay (Leaves of Heaven) by Nemrah Ahmed. Hands down.

OR A bookish hero or heroine you want around to protect you in real life

Can I please go with Asfandyaar Ali Khan from Yaqeen Ka Safar by Farhat Ishtiaq? This dude is so IN right now. The entire nation has been slayed. See for yourself.

I’d also like to appoint Faris Ghazi from Naml as my personal bodyguard and eye-candy.


A book that took you by surprise

I’m going to consider recent books for these questions. So, for 2017, the book that really surprised me was, I guess, Frostblood by Elly Blake. I was surprised because I had expected to not be surprised. Get it? I already knew it was going to be similar to other YA books with female protagonists (still I picked it up) but I didn’t think I would like it. So it was refreshing in that sense. Not only did I like it, I’m reading the sequel right now and loving that as well.

Or alternatively, A book that made you want to send it flying

Wintersong by S. Jae. Jones. The book is filled with bull crap and it is legit the worst book I’ve read this year after Our Story Ends Here. Just thinking about it makes me cringe so hard.

Prior Incantato!

The last book that you read

Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo. The book is EXCELLENT. The banter and dialogue between the characters is so good you’ll be hallelujah-ing all over the place.



A book that introduced you to a genre you hadn’t considered before

So this isn’t a book I read in 2017 but last year, sometime in June or July, I think. It’s called Qesar-o-Kisra (Caesar and Khosrow) by Naseem Hijazi. It’s historical fiction.

I used to always run from Historical Fiction because I thought it would be tedious and boring but I never even considered that “fiction” encompassed a wide range of genres, including fantasy. Since then I’ve read a couple of historical fantasy books and they’ve all been great. Even though this wasn’t exactly fantasy I enjoyed it a lot.

Or alternatively: A first book in a series that got you hooked

Again, there are plenty but I’m going to go with Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel. It’s basically Pacific Rim but with far less mechs and a more detailed alien history.


A funny book that you’ve read

The School For Good and Evil by Soman Chainani. This book had me in stitches, it was so silly and fun. I’ve read the whole trilogy but the nothing beats the freshness of the first book. Highly recommended.



A book everyone should know about

I have two answers for that: The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker. This book is SUBLIME, bros. It’s enchanting and soothing and vivid. It’s set in early 1900s New York. The other one is the Septimus Heap series by Angie Sage. This series is so unfairly underrated it breaks my heart. The series is delightful and utterly charming and there’s also a green-eyed wizard in it who happens to be the protagonist.



A book you would like to forget having read

I am of the opinion that no matter how loathsome you found a book the experience counts and so I wouldn’t wish to forget. But, since we’re answering questions I would like to mention a book I recently read that I DETESTED with every fiber of my being. It was so bad the dead trees must be cringing in heaven. Our Story Ends Here by Sara Naveed. Authors are so fond of using words like “Our” and  “End” and “Story” in their titles I’ve heard of, like, 10 books with similar names.


A book you read for school

I love this book, by the way. Somehow, the fact that it was being taught in class didn’t take away the magic of it. I used to be always ahead of the class and reading the next chapters while they read the previous ones (IN class, I might add).


A book that was painful to read

Depends on the kinda pain you’re referring to but I’d go with the happy one, the one you would gladly endure because it’s so toxic and delicious. Yaaram by Sumaira Hameed.

This is a made-up cover but I still love it because the version I was reading (the free, online, pdf one ;p) had this cover. I love this book to bits and it’ll forever be close to my heart.

Avada Kedavra!

A killer book

It’s open to interpretation so I’m going with “a book that you can literally kill someone with”. Naml by Nemrah Ahmed. It’s E-NORMOUS.

ScreenHunter_124 Nov. 07 18.41

Or alternatively, A character death that destroyed you

Omar Jehangir from Amar Bail. *LOUD SNIFFLING*


A book that you found interesting but would like to re-write

I’d go with edit. Or mostly edit and a bit of a re-write. The book being A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. MY LORD is that book a contradiction of emotions. The first half or so is fascinating and charming while the rest is utter fiasco. It’s also INHUMANELY, pointlessly long, hence the editing.


A book that you wish you had right now

Renegades by Marissa Meyer. I mean, COME ON ALREADY. I’ve been waiting pining for this book since the beginning of time.

Also, the cover reminds me of Tron: Uprising.


A book that you found confusing

Oh, that. *shudders* The Owl Service by Alan Garner. WTF was even the deal with that book. Behold the cover, and the face I made throughout the reading process.



A dark, twisted book

Add “disturbing”, “gag-tastic, “yuck-i-fying” and “horrible” to the list as well. Let The Right One In John Ajvide Lindqvist. Like, seriously, this book is disgusting. I loved it.

Cheering Charm

A book that gave you the warm fuzzies

The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald.


A book that made you ugly cry

I came perilously close to pure devastation and giving up on life in general. Yaaram by Sumaira Hameed again.


A book you intentionally spoiled yourself for

Er. Look, I was a kid back then, English isn’t my first language and it was sub-par at best at that time, I had no way of buying the book(s) and the movies were coming out year after year. *gulps*



A book or series you wish never ended

Jee, I wonder.
Apart from the obvious choice, The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. These books were SO GOOD, yo.

Wingardium Leviosa!

A book with an uplifting message or ending

Naml by Nemrah Ahmed. The book is all about fighting for justice and standing up for what’s right, no matter what. It’s about ants stopping their pretense of being weak. And guess what? The ants win.


An author whose book always gets you out of a slump

I don’t turn to any specific author when I’m in a slump. I always turn to my language. Reading something in Urdu always helps.

Jelly-Legs Jinx

A hero or heroine who makes you swoon

Let me unfold my infinite list of fictional crushes. *puts on glasses*

  • Cihan Sikander from Jannat Kay Pattay
  • Shahdil from Dil Ka Nagar
  • Faris Ghazi from Naml
  • Aaliyan from Yaaram
  • Omar Jehangir from Amar Bail
  • Asfandyaar Ali Khan from Yaqeen Ka Safar
  • Kaz Brekker from Six of Crows
  • Percy Jackson (all that sarcasm! *fans herself*)
  • Howl Pendragon from Howl’s Moving Castle
  • Magnus Damora from Falling Kingdoms

… the list continues

Aresto Momentum!

A book that caused you to stop everything until you finished it

Amar Bail by Umera Ahmed. GOOD GOD, she knows her stuff.


A book with a shocking twist or ending

A short story comes to mind. Leigh Bardugo is the queen of cliffhangers so you can expect a certain amount of OMGfication in her books. The Witch of Duva had me reeling.

Finite Incantatem!

Best Conclusion to a series

The Lunar Chronicles and Six of Crows.



Posted in Bookish Balderdash, Me Thinks

The “Would You Rather” Book Tag

With a blog, … comes the responsibility to post. Ugh.

So anyway, I found this tag on Goodreads and then I searched Google for a couple versions of it and I’m putting the ones I liked here. This is a mixed one and my source is Google only. If you happen to be the original creator of these tags, feel free to sue me.

Let us begin!

Would I rather:

1. Have unlimited money for e-books or a $5,000 Barnes and Noble gift card?

We don’t have Barnes and Noble in Pakistan. And anyway, I’m not picky about getting specific editions or covers or things like that AT ALL. I just care about the book, old or new, hardback or paperback, ebook or physical. So, I’m going to go with unlimited money. Unlimited money sounds good. I could even cheat and use it for something other than books.

2. Meet any deceased poet or J.K. Rowling?

J.K Rowling is BAE and I’m not into poetry. I really wouldn’t care if Shakespeare was resurrected and started walking amongst us mortals of today.

However, Iqbal is another matter entirely. Okay, now I’m stumped. Iqbal or J.K Rowling? J.K Rowling or Iqbal? IMMA GO WITH IQBAL.

3. Write the world’s most famous book or visit the world of your favorite book for one day?

24 hours of ecstasy versus a lifetime of glory. JEE, I wonder.

4. Choose __ or __ ? (Insert characters from your favorite fictional love triangle)

I guess I’ll do a Percy Jackson one. Percy and Annabeth are adorable and meant to be together forever. BUT, when Percy washed ashore on Ogygia and spent some time with Calypso, my heart wanted the two of them to be together. It was early on in the series, the third book and Percy and Annabeth hadn’t truly been with each other by then but the attraction was there. I guess it would’ve created an unnecessary complication or whatever but I really, REALLY shipped Percy and Calypso. Especially now that I’ve read CaLeo in Trials of Apollo, this came back to me because I don’t like Leo and her together as a couple. They don’t have that spark. Sorry.

5. Experience Hogwarts in a very realistic and accurate virtual reality or travel around the world for a year at no cost?

Hogwarts is not real (LE GASP!) but the real world is, uh, real, ya know? And when you throw in some free money, well…

6. Always see the film first or never see the film version of books?

I can live without both these things. I read Maze Runner first then saw the film while it was the reverse with Hunger Games. Both of these experiences were unique and fun and I don’t prefer one over the other. Sort of the same thing with the second option. It’s fun to see how they portray the things you have read but if I don’t like the book or the cast of the film or just don’t feel like it, I don’t see it. I’ve read the Divergent trilogy but never seen the movies. So, any of the two or none, I don’t care.

7. Have a list of every book you’ve ever read (like Goodreads from birth) or still have the physical copy of your first favorite book?

I’m pretty sure I have the physical copies of the books I loved as a child (I don’t remember one specifically) but even if I didn’t, having a list of all the books you have ever read is way more satisfying. It’s a close one but I think it’s the list for me.

8. Have the time to read everything you want to read or the money to buy everything you want to read?

What? I want to do other things too. Reading all the time would imply that I don’t have a life which is not cool OR if I have enough money I can definitely stop worrying about other things and focus on reading only. The logic in both seems sound to me.

9. Dream cast the film or have editing power over the script for the film version of your favorite book?

Dream cast, hands down. Not only because editing is not my forte but also because I like seeing different versions of the same thing even if they turn out to be horrible.

10. Have your favorite fictional superpower or your favorite fictional technology?


11. Read an amazing story with a ‘meh’ ending or a ‘meh’ story with a spectacular ending?

Reading an amazing story with a ‘meh’ ending would mean that I’d spend more time having fun, although I’d get to rant and fume later. And even that has its perks as the best reviews are rant reviews so I would have a great time doing that too.

12. Not be able to read in a moving vehicle or not be able to read lying down?

Easy. Not be able to read in a moving vehicle. I lay down an awful lot than I travel. I seriously have no outdoors, pedestrian or otherwise, life. I’m a hobbit and hobbits like the comforts of home and staying far away from adventures of the non-reading variety.

Also, I’m the kind of person who can’t read in public places/vehicles.

13. Re-read your favorite book or series with fresh eyes, like the first time, or be able to un-read your biggest disappointment?

I would NEVER want to unread anything even if it was horrible. It’s an experience and every experience means something.

Oooooh, wisdom!

14. Read only trilogies or stand-alones?

No, seriously, I can’t. Being part of a series can be as much fun as reading a stand-alone book. Sometimes, you love the world and want to continue learning more, in which case trilogies are great, and other times you have had enough, hence stand-alones. And even when you get tired of reading long series, single books come to the rescue.

15. Read only male or female authors?

I will read both, thanks.

16. Shop only at bookshops or online?

I might have mentioned that I’m a hobbit? And that I’m not picky at all about how the book is? I’m not the kind of person who picks a book because she likes the look of it (there’s always a danger of doing exactly that at bookstores), I research beforehand about what I’m going to read next and then order online. I find it more comfortable. Not only that, browsing through the books at a bookstore makes me feel miserable and depressed about all the books I cannot have.

17. All books were made into movies or TV shows?

TV shows. There would be a little compromise on quality because the budget probably wouldn’t be as big but one episode on one chapter seems like a pretty sweet deal to me. Imagine a Harry Potter show: seven seasons, each season on one book with as many episodes as the chapters of that book. This idea was tossed around years ago but it still manages to excite me.

18. Read 5 pages per day or 5 books per week?

5 pages per day. I like doing other things too.

19. Be a professional reviewer or author?

  • I already review.
  • Being an author would mean that I’ve accomplished something awesome. And it’d be dead cool.
  • Being a “professional” reviewer would probably come with some rules, right? I like eloquent speech once in a while but my reviews are all me and whimsy and very unprofessional, albeit grammatically correct unless intended otherwise.


20. Only read your top 20 favourite books over and over, or always read books you haven’t read before?

Always read books I haven’t read before. I rarely re-read.

21. Be a librarian or a bookseller?

Neither. They both sound unappealing to me. I just like reading, doesn’t mean I like everything that is directly or indirectly related to reading. *runs away to avoid your chappals*

22. Only read your favourite genre, or every genre except your favourite?

I love fantasy and I read only fantasy so there’s that. BUT, I’m going to go a bit broader and say that my favorite genre is fiction as opposed to non-fiction, and that yes, I’d happily only read that.

23. Only read physical books or eBooks?

I’ve grown disgustingly accustomed to eBooks. The sheer number of conveniences, dude! I buy two books like once every three months or so and I’ve tapped their pages to get the meanings of a few words at least 2 times. I used to be very enthusiastic about telling people in answer to questions like this that I prefer physical books, maybe to convince myself more than them, but I can no longer lie to myself: EBOOKS.


Posted in Bookish Balderdash, Urdu Novels

Haalim Episode 5: تین خزینوں کا مسکن Review

The House of Three Treasures”, the fifth episode of Haalim was another steady episode. It was fun and quite straight-forward compared to the last one which was a roller coaster ride.

The people in this book put two and two together real fast. Taliya figured out her connection with the key, Adam figured out what Taliya’s after, Asra figured out that Taliya is a force to be reckoned with, it’s the fifth episode and already everything is moving quick. Which is a good thing, I guess but this “smarter-than-your-average-commoner” quality that all of Nemrah Ahmed’s characters possess does lend a certain unrealistic quality to them. All of them are perceptive, all of them are intelligent with excellent memories, meanwhile, I have trouble remembering what I had for dinner the previous day.

I also have trouble understanding why or how Taliya seems to be so enamored by Faateh. Sure, he’s charismatic, okay, he has this grand personality, but he’s a jerk, no matter how wise or sincere. He’s also a father of three and 45+, just saying. He was supposed to be this intriguing and charming character of the book in lieu of Hashim from Naml or even Faris but I have failed to see him as such. For me, he’s just another character in the story and I regard him with equal fascination as the rest, which is not considerable.

This makes me realize that none of the characters in Haalim stand out to me right now. I’m far more interested in the plot and the supernatural elements than the people.

There was this scene in this episode the likes of which we’ve read before in Naml. A character is narrating, he’s either speaking to himself or someone, while at the same time somewhere different, other character or characters are doing something else. This is quite a film-esque situation, one I’ve seen in multiple movies. What happens when it’s translated into a written scene is that the person’s narration becomes repetitive. It happened in Naml when Haneen was narrating her written letter to Aleesha and it happened here when Faateh was addressing the nation on national television. He kept prattling on and on about positivity (مثبت شعائیں for “positive vibes”, eh? Nice one, Nemrah, I liked that phrase) while Taliya and Datin focused on breaking into Ashar’s office. Maybe it’s inevitable given that the other scenario taking place has to be accommodated with the speech and since you’re only talking about one thing, “the need to develop a positive outlook towards life” in this case, you can only say so much.

Or maybe you can, I don’t know, it felt like he was saying the same thing over and over again.

So Faateh, Taliya and Adam are all about to come face to face with each other. Now THAT is going to go well. The biggest questions I have are Taliya’s past and Aryana’s kidnapping. I’ll bet Faateh’s fortune the two are connected. Asra has quite the venom in her, and some balls, if she had the gall to defend the same person she framed just so she could get back to her husband. Typical woman behavior, very disappointing.

Let’s see what this ancient house of Sun Bao does to our trio.

Quote of the Episode:

My Rating: 4/5

Posted in Bookish Balderdash, Me Stuff

The Goodreads Book Tag!

Oh, yeah! I’m on a roll. Start one book tag, you’ll start another and then it’s a blog filled with tags and nothing else. Kidding, I don’t intend to do that but I won’t deny that these are literal life savers when you can’t think of anything else to post.

As usual, I did not wait for anyone to tag me, nor am I ever going to. I’ve been on good-goody-Goodreads for a long time now and as such, I consider it my obvious right to do this tag.

For this particular tag, I’m going to annoy you with the screenshots of my Goodreads profile as answers to the tag questions. Let us begin!


What was the last book you marked as ‘Read’?

It was the end of a very entertaining trilogy and part of a series I’ve come to love with all my heart. Check Angie Sage out!


What are you ‘Currently Reading’?

I have high hopes for this. I’m still figuring it out and so far it’s been interesting.


What was the last book you marked as ‘To Be Read’?

After Illuminae, I’ll gladly read whatever she writes.


What book do you plan to read next?

Well, after I’m done with the Summoner trilogy by Taran Matharu, there are a couple of series I wish to start. I think I’ll probably go for either Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson, A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness or Flame in the Mist. One of those three. Haven’t made up my mind yet, I have a trilogy to finish first.


Do you use the star rating system?

Sweet relief, I finally get to talk about my rating system without sounding like a pompous imp (and here’s my personal opinion on telling people your rating system in your profile on Goodreads. Like, why should anyone even care? Am I the president of the world?). Seriously, I don’t like it when people talk about their rating systems and I avoid doing things to other people I don’t like being done to me, but here I have to answer a question, SO

My rating history, I’ve rated 340 books so far.

My rating system is kind of a mix between the rating stars and the shelves I put the book in. Both of these things determine the level of enjoyment I got from the book. For instance, I have two shelves called what-the-garbage and I-dunno-why-I-bothered (stop laughing), these are both low level shelves for books that I hated but with a subtle difference. A one-star what-the-garbage book is infinitely worse than a one-star I-dunno-why-I-bothered book. Same principle with other high level shelves. And then of course, there are the books you put in the same shelf but with different ratings. So a 2-star what-the-garbage book would be equal to a one-star I-dunno-why-I-bothered book. To top it all of, I sometimes put book in multiple shelves and considering the fact that my shelves are based on specific feelings rather than general things, that might make it all the more confusing for anyone but me.

As to why I put books in particular shelves and with particular ratings: I have NO clear cut answer to that and there can’t ever be one. It’s something totally unique to everyone. I rate books depending on how I ‘feel’, which is as subjective as it gets.


Are you doing a 2017 reading challenge?

I used to be paranoid about this in the beginning but now I’ve entered the chill mode.


Do you have a wishlist?

That’s a funny question. Why, yes, I do. It looks something like this:

No, but seriously, the Goodreads tbr is one big wishlist, isn’t it? I don’t keep any other besides that.

It is but a drop of the ocean…


What book do you plan to buy next?

  • Assassin’s Creed: Revelations
  • Immortal Heights (Falling Kingdoms # 6)

Who are your favorite authors?

Oooooooooh. SO MANY!
J.K Rowling, Marissa Meyer, Rick Riordan, Suzanne Collins, Victoria Schwab, Soman Chainani, Ryan Graudin, Jay Kristoff, Amie Kauffman, Leigh Bardugo, Diana Wynne Jones, Angie Sage, Nemrah Ahmed, Umera Ahmed, Farhat Ishtiaq, Sumaira Hameed, Morgan Rhodes, Altaf Fatima, Katherine Arden, Laini Taylor and many more.

What are your favorite quotes?

I honestly do not keep track of those like this. I read a book and if I like a passage or a line, well, I just do and that’s it. I don’t memorize them. Here’s one I liked on Goodreads:

Deep, wouldn’t you say?

How many shelves do you have on Goodreads?

16 total. Feast your eyes:

Mother-of-all-books-sweet-and-pure has all Harry Potter books. It is the highest and mightiest shelf of them all and is above the number 1. Basically, there can be no other book in that shelf. Period.

Have you joined any groups?

I have joined only two but I’ve been invited to a couple more, none of which I accepted. I am active a little on the Pakistani Readers group. Between reading, sewing, bookstagramming and blogging, can you even expect me to?


I hereby tag anyone and everyone who is reading this to do this, if you’re the sort who waits to be tagged. Have fun and leave a comment!

Posted in Book Reviews, Bookish Balderdash

Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag!

This is my first attempt at doing a blogging tag of any kind and this was kinda cool. However, I was NOT tagged by anyone. But…

2017 has been spectacular so far. I set my yearly Goodreads challenge to 50 books this year which is double last year’s 25. I’ve read 38 books so far and am 76% done with my challenge. I normally get to read about 7 books per month, 10 if I’m really stretching it.

All right, so let’s begin with the sacred process of doing the revered book tag:

Best Book Read So Far in 2017:

Oh man. There are SO many! And not necessarily released this year. They were:

  • The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstein
  • The School For Good and Evil By Soman Chainani
  • The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
  • Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Nuvel
  • A Darker Shade of magic by V.E. Schwab
  • Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
  • Dastak Na Do by Altaf Fatima

The underlined ones were awesome. But if I do have to pick one, I’ll pick the Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden. It was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever read and it came out this year.

Best Sequel Read So Far in 2017:

I’ve read three sequels released this year:

  • Waking Gods (Themis Files #2, sequel to Sleeping Giants)
  • Windwitch (The Witchlands # 2, sequel to Truthwitch)
  • The Dark Prophecy (The Trials of Apollo # 2, sequel to the Hidden Oracle)

My favorite one would have to be Waking Gods. Ancient alien species invading Earth leading to epic fights between mecha giants. WHAT more could you ask for?

New Release I Haven’t Read But Want To:

The Flame in the Mist is making rounds on Social Media. Being a HUMONGOUS fan of Mulan, naturally I want to check it out.

Most Anticipated Release For the Second-Half of 2017:

Again, so many:

  • Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo
  • Immortal Reign (Falling Kingdoms # 6) by Morgan Rhodes
  • Warcorss by Marie Lu
  • Renegades by Marissa Meyer
  • The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell

If I have to choose just one, UGH, it would be Immortal Reign. MAGNEO FOREVER!!!

Biggest Disappointment:

There are a couple books that I didn’t like, to put it mildly, but since the word ‘disappointment’ suggests attached expectations, there is a very clear answer to that question: Wintersong. Like, OH.MY.BEARD.THIS.WAS.SHEEEEEEEET.

A few others I should mention as I had mild expectations about those as well:

  • Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth
  • RoseBlood by A.G. Howard
  • Blood Rose Rebellion by Rosalyn Eves
  • Snow Like Ashes trilogy by Sara Raasch
  • The Owl Service by Alan Garner

Biggest Surprise:

I was pleasantly surprised by the Septimus Heap series by Angie Sage, those are such wonderful books but sadly, grossly overlooked. As for the biggest surprises of 2017:

  • Long May She Reign by Rhiannon Thomas
  • Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza
  • FrostBlood by Ellie Blake

Favorite New Author (Debut or New to Me):

Never gonna pick just one:

  • Victoria Schwab
  • Angie Sage
  • Katherine Arden
  • Soman Chainani

Newest Fictional Crush:

Lazlo Strange from Strange the Dreamer and Septimus Heap from the series of the same name. The first one is an adorable bookworm with an imagination and big dreams, the latter is a green-eyed wizard of great power, also adorable.

Favorite New Character:

  • Vasya from the Bear and the Nightingale
  • Geeti from Dastak Na Do
  • Septimus Heap and Marcia Overstrand from the same series
  • Lazlo Strange
  • Holland from Shades of Magic

A Book That Made Me Cry:

That depends, tears of sadness or tears of frustration?

For the former, I don’t do the bawling-out-my-eyes cry after reading books. The most I do is a tear at most or a trembling chin or disinterest in life and stuff. This year, I think it was Dastak Na Do, that made me sad enough for those things.

For the latter, I would nominate Our Story Ends Here by Sara Naveed, Wintersong by S.Jae Jones and The Owl Service by Alan Garner, in that order.

A Book That Made Me Happy:

The School For Good and Evil by Soman Chainani. That book is HILARIOUS, yo. I read the entire thing with a huge, goofy smile on my face.

Although, this picture isn’t that cheerful.

Favorite Book-to-Movie Adaptation I Saw This Year:

NONE. As in, there weren’t any that I saw. I’m not sure if Beauty and the Beast counts.

Favorite Review I’ve Written This Year:

This is, by far, the MOST awesome question in this tag. And yes, there actually happens to be one such review. The best reviews are rant reviews, no question about that. Those are the ones where words come pouring out along with a ton of sarcasm, frustration and gifs. I wrote this review back in April for Our Story Ends Here by Sara Naveed, a local Pakistani author. Not only did I love it but judging by the comments received, a whole lot of other people did as well. NOT blowing my own trumpet.

Here’s the link:

The Most Beautiful Book You Bought Or Received This Year:

Physik (Septimus Heap # 3) by Angie Sage.

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

I did a tbr post a while back. Basically, all the books I mentioned there I want to read so very desperately.

  • All Souls Trilogy
  • Assassin’s Creed Series
  • Air Awakens Series
  • The Summoner Trilogy
  • The Memoirs of Lady Trent Series
  • Mistborn Trilogy

There you have it, all fifteen questions answered.

Until next time. Cheers!

Posted in Book Reviews, Bookish Balderdash, Urdu Novels

Dil Ka Nagar – An early teens guilty pleasure

Since it’s in Urdu and was being published in episodes about 7 or 8 years ago, I’m 500% certain that absolutely NO ONE knows what this is. Good, let me enlighten you.

I talked about my childhood reading habits and the books/magazines I turned to when I wasn’t that much aware of English literature two posts back. I mentioned a local newspaper/magazine called Akhbar-e-Jahan? This particular story was published in that magazine and I was enamored by it. It’s a family saga by a writer called Salma Yonus and it ran for 21 weeks. Dil Ka Nagar translates to something like “where the heart lives”.

Anyone who knows anything about our culture knows that we practically inhale family sagas on a daily basis, through our television shows, through our books, it’s what we love and what we are used to. Being at that age, young, and not entirely exposed to the genre I would come to love in the later years (it’s fantasy btw), it was something that I stuck to like a leech and oh, how I enjoyed every second of it! Waiting every week for a new episode was equal parts agony and excitement.

Even though it’s a 400 page book now, I frustratingly did not find it on the Goodreads’ archives. Such is the curse of using that website, you don’t want to read anything you can’t brag about. So I thought, why not write about it here? I’ve been secretly wishing to write about this book for ages.

It’s a tad filmy, with characters dying or changing when it’s convenient and things happening for shock value. I’ll say it again, I LOVED it then and that love is alive even now after years and years. If I had read it now, I most probably would not have liked it that much.  Yes, I love family sagas but I like them to unfold with intelligence. Not that this was extremely stupid, but as I skim it now I see that some parts are just too cliched which is always a bad sign. Here’s what I remember:

The book had a Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham -esqued start where Jahanzeb and his family: his wife Mudhat and two grown-up daughters Zoya and Zoobya receive a letter from his estranged parents asking for a reconciliation. Jahanzeb was kicked out of the house for marrying the girl he loved instead of conceding to his father’s wishes and marrying his cousin, Safina. Now, years later, this ‘invitation’ reasonably shocks him but after his wife’s gentle persuasion, he agrees to return.

The have a warm welcome at the Aevaan Palace with all the previous squabbles apparently forgotten as they are accepted into the family once again with open arms. Mudhat is ecstatic. She’s finally found the love and respect she had always wanted from her in-laws.

However, three people are not particularly happy with Jahanzeb’s return; Safina, her nephew Shahdil and Baba Sahab.

Baba Sahab, Jahanzeb’s father, is the patriarch of Aevaan Palace. No decision is made without his royal majesty’s express consent and he is feared and respected as the head of the family. My thoughts on the guy were quite clear then and they remain so until now: he was an egotistical JERK with authority issues and some grand notions of his superiority above the rest. I refused to accept his I’m-so-high-and-mighty-bow-before-me bullshit and I hated how his actions were justified even though they were SO beyond wrong at times. No matter how the writer tried to spin it, he was a horrible, horrible man.

What’s worse is that he never realized the gravity of his arrogant and stupid mistakes. I’m pretty sure Amitabh Bachan’s character either apologized at the end or maybe admitted that he was wrong. Another character like this was seen in the form of Agha Jaan in Dayar-e-Dil and you have to appreciate how absolutely beautiful his arc was. He was ashamed of how harsh he had been and tried hard to rectify his mistakes. Not this guy, though.

So the Palace is home to not only Baba Sahab’s family but also his brother’s family; his brother’s daughter, Safina and his grandson Shahdil. Shahdil’s parents died when he was a kid and he has been brought up by his aunt. Baba Sahab’s family includes his wife, Bi Ji and his six children, three sons including Jahanzeb and three daughters. All are married and have their own grown up kids so you have a really big family with lots of good old melodrama.

Baba Sahab and Safina aren’t happy with his son’s return because of obvious reasons, he is rigid and doesn’t like sacrificing his stupid, nonsensical principles while Safina still carries heartbreak from all those years ago. Shahdil on the other hand holds a grudge on behalf of his beloved aunt and he is the one who shows the most resistance to this new arrival.

Aaah, Shahdil! This tall, dark and handsome (and very angry) young man holds a special place in my heart. You see, long before Jihan Sikandar, Faris Ghazi, Omar Jahangir and all other fictional men I drool over now, there was Shahdil. He was the reason I was always so excited about reading this. He seems to be ill-tempered and rude at first but really, he’s all mush inside. He was, quite honestly, one of my very first fictional crushes.

Zoya and Zoobya are already engaged to be married to their maternal cousins. Zoya and Ibaad are actually married but their parents are waiting for the girls to finish their education for a proper wedding ceremony. And so it is when Zoobya’s fiance secretly marries another and her world is in upheaval when our very own Lord High and Mighty Baba Sahab declares that Ibbad must divorce Zoya as well. His reason? Because he said so, and:

Zoya and Ibaad are devastated and while Zoya resists initially, she too gives up like a typical goody-two shoes bechari while her parents do the same. UGH. Only Zoobya and Ibaad refuse to accept this colossally idiotic pronouncement. Ibaad shows up with a lawyer I think and his father and takes Zoya away from Aevaan Palace without telling her about it first. There is uproar and outrage and Baba Sahab blames Zoya for encouraging Ibaad to do this and promptly breaks all ties with her.

There are other relationship threads in the story but Zoya, Zoobya, Ibaad and Shahdil make the main square so I’m only talking about them. Beware! Things are about to get frustratingly cliched and ridiculous:

  • Zoya and Ibaad’s marriage is riddled with angst and drama because in the beginning, she can’t stop moaning about how Ibaad took her away from her precious rishtey (family) and when that’s settled, she falls down the stairs while she’s pregnant and, you guessed it, becomes infertile.
  • Meanwhile, Zoobya and Shahdil are married on the insistence of their parents, no wait, sorry, on the order of Baba Sahab the Formiddable and the two cannot stand the sight of each other. It’s only when Shahdil realizes that his wife is with child that he slowly starts to soften.
  • Ibaad’s mother pushes him towards a second marriage to her niece. The family line must go on, she says and the men are unable to persuade her to give up.
  • Ibaad’s new mother-in-law conspires to throw Zoya out of the house and succeeds: she sends her out for medicine when nobody’s home and lies to Ibaad when he comes back about her having run away. Just the poor girl’s luck, it rains and her chappal breaks, HER CHAPPAL FREAKING BREAKS and, cherry on top, Shahdil shows up out of nowhere to drop her home. Ibaad after this brainwashing, takes one look at Zoya with Shahdil at the door and divorces her. LOL.
  • Zoobya dies in childbirth and Zoya is brought home. Zoya and Shahdil grow close to each other and fall in love. Well, Shahdil technically, had already fallen in love with her ages ago.
  • Ibaad has an accident and dies.

All the conveniences and absurdities aside, I admit that I had been secretly pining for Zoya and Shahdil and may have figuratively whooped when they got together. Oh, and Baba Sahab? He just had a smug smile plastered on his face, like he knew all this was going to happen and he was right all along. Die, bitch.

Well, that was fun. There are somethings you love unconditionally, no matter how daft or illogical they sometimes are. This book is one such thing for me. But the writing was good, I won’t deny that. It was nice to be able to share about it when previously I couldn’t. One of the many perks of having your very own blog. MUAHAHA.

Share your thoughts down below, peeps!

Posted in Bookish Balderdash

My TBR List (for the rest of the year)

Yup. These books are easily long enough and abundant enough to last me for the next six months. I currently have 44 books in my Goodreads tbr but the ones I’m going to mention now are the ones I’m going to pick up to read because they have me really pumped up. I generally avoid keeping a huge tbr, it depresses me, which is why I never have more than 50 books in my to-reads list. And also because Goodreads is such an amazing platform, not only do you see the same books pop up in people’s feeds but the site also recommends you books depending on your reading history and preference.

So without further ado, here are the (mostly YA Fantasy) books I am EXTREMELY excited about diving into:

The Summoner Trilogy by Taran Matharu:

Male MC? THANK THE LORD. Books include The Novice, The Inquisition and The Battlemage released from 2015-2017. So this is a fairly new trilogy.
Reason for adding it to tbr: The cover. I have zero clue as to what it’s about and I intend it to stay that way.

The Memoirs of Lady Trent by Marie Brennan:

These are five books (2013-2017): A Natural History of Dragons, The Tropic of Serpents, The Voyage of the Basilisk, In the Labyrinth of Drakes and Within the Sanctuary of Wings.
Reasons for adding it to tbr: The premise: a science-fiction historical fantasy written as a memoir. Dragons. The cover. DRAGONSSSSS.

All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness:

From 2011-2014, books include A Discovery of Witches, Shadow of Night and the Book of Life. I caught words like ‘vampire’ and ‘magic’ in the synopsis. You might have guessed that I don’t pay attention to the summaries when it is a book I want to read.
Reason for adding it to tbr: Recommendation. Honestly? I’ve read great things about this trilogy from other people and even though the cover of the first book intrigued me, I wouldn’t have added it otherwise.

The Air Awakens Series & The Loom Saga by Elise Kova:

The first has 5 books Air Awakens, Fire Falling, Earth’s End, Water’s Wrath and Crystal Crowned published, inexplicably, from 2015-2016. It’s something to do with elemental powers which I LOOOOOOOOOOVE!!!! The latter has only first two published as of yet: The Alchemists of Loom, The Dragons of Nova and The Rebels of Gold. Also, no idea what it’s about.
Reason for adding to tbr: HAVE YOU SEEN THE COVERS? Story of my life.

The Mistborn Trilogy by Brandon Sanderson:

There are more books in this series which act as a continuation of the world of Mistborn but the original ones were published from 2006-2008 and are titled, The Final Empire, The Well of Ascension and the Hero of Ages.
Reason for adding it to tbr: Strong word of mouth.

The Assassin’s Creed Series by Oliver Bowden:

These are 8 books (2009-2015): Renaissance, Brotherhood, The Secret Crusade, Revelations, Forsaken, Black Flag, Unity and Underworld.
Reason for adding it to tbr:  I only found out recently, like yesterday, that Assassin’s Creed also had books. I was like WHAAAAAAT? I’ve loved the video games from afar for a long time, never actually having played any of them (though not from lack of trying) and this has me SQUEAKing. I cannot wait to find out how good these books are!

So these are the approximately 30 books I’m legit dying to read. Judging by the fact that I read about 7 books per month (10 if I push myself too hard), it’ll take me about 4 months, give or take, to read all of ’em. Assuming, that I don’t get tempted by standalones and deviate from my tbr. Who am I kidding? Of course I’m going to get side-tracked!

Tell me about your anticipated reads! Who knows? I might just add them to my already stuffed-to-the-nose tbr.

Posted in Bookish Balderdash

Favorite Book Series of Mine!

I generally avoid keeping lists of this kind because they make you think, think back to what you liked or didn’t like, what you loved or hated and I just prefer to keep going as I am without having to work that out. Which is why, if you ever ask me what my favorite any thing is, I’ll go completely blank. Apart from Harry Potter, which is the default, I wouldn’t know what specifically my favorites books, characters, settings, etc are because I intentionally don’t keep track of these things.

Well, I decided to change that! The first list I’m going to be making is my “Top Book Series” list. Then there would be standalones, trilogies, favorite characters, hateful characters, underrated books, and so on.

Dear Lord, so much thinking and working out to do.

I’ll be presenting my favorite series in three categories:


These are more or less fixed. I don’t think there will ever be another series I would love more but you never know:

1- Harry Potter:

Surprise, surprise. You don’t need another one of those pseudo-emotional stories about how Harry Potter is LIFE and the world would NOT be the same without it, et cetera. Nope.

2- The Hunger Games:

So it was the summer of 2012, the film was about to be released and Jennifer Lawrence was everywhere. The appstore on my newly installed Windows 8 showed the free Hunger Games Trilogy app and I thought, why not? It was a scorching hot summer time but I sat oblivious in front of the computer screen sweating buckets with my mouth hanging open, so immersed was I. To this day I compare every Dystopian YA novel with the Hunger Games and I always end up being disappointed.

3- Percy Jackson & The Heroes of Olympus:

Two words: Rick Riordan. This man can make something as mundane as a plumbing handbook sound hilarious. I’ve read most of his books but these two series (5 books each) are my favorites. There are a couple of reasons; Percy is in them, he’s an adorable and sarcastic enemy-of-the-maple-syrup dolphin, Uncle Rick’s humor really shines in those books and the cast of characters is amazing.

4- The Lunar Chronicles:

I discovered my love for fairytale retellings with these books. Cinder was a good first book but I wasn’t hooked until Scarlet and boy was I driven crazy. Marissa Meyer is such an incredible storyteller. I didn’t know you could ship FOUR couples AT THE SAME TIME with EQUAL love and intensity.

5- Septimus Heap:

I am willing to bet most people don’t know about this series. About a month ago I didn’t either. But I have just spent the past 30 days reading this 7 book series about a lovable wizard apprentice with green eyes and even though this had a rocky start for me, I’ve grown quite fond of this series. It’s underrated, duh. I chanced upon these books while scouring the internet for “books to read after Harry Potter. The prose is delightful, the plot is always clever and all the characters are worth rooting for. My love for this series is relatively recent and I’m not sure if it’ll stay at number 5 but it will forevermore stay close to my heart.


As in, they all tie. I tried putting them in some kind of order but they’re all so different from each other and unique in their own wonderful ways that it is impossible. So, in no particular order:

6- Six of Crows:

Why do good things end so quickly? Because OH EM GEE this duology is complete and utter perfection. It’s PHENOMENAL. The setting is vivid, the characters are incredibly fleshed out and interesting and the writing keeps you on your toes. The protagonist, Kaz Brekker, is someone you regard with sick fascination (because he is a little, um, disturbed) but also admire. He and his team pull off one daring and impossible stunt after another and you just cannot get enough.

7- Falling Kingdoms:

This series didn’t start off well for me, it seemed kinda meh-ish and there were a couple of times I was repulsed by the stuff in it. It’s generally pitched as Game of Thrones for the younger audience. But apart from those few occurrences, I began to find this enjoyable and lemme tell you somethin’, IT. IS. GLORIOUS. The characters and their relationships evolve spectacularly throughout these books and it is what makes them so good.

8- The Illuminae Files:

Pros: The intricately crafted and magnificent format, space and all that jazz, teeth-on-edge action, the fastest of all paces, kickass heroes and heroines and the unlimited thrills. Cons: —-ERROR—

9- The Shades of Magic:

It’s high fantasy at its best. The world-building is awe-inspiring and the plot is impressive. There are a few minor thorns (*cough* Lilah Bard *cough*) in there but even so it is on of the best fantasy series out there.

10- The School for Good and Evil:

This series is the very definition of whimsical. It’s delightful, hilarious and plain silly. You will LOL a lot, I certainly did. So there are two schools opposite each other, one for Good and one for Evil. The former trains its students to become princes and princesses and knights while the latter gives exclusive and extensive training on becoming witches, humpback trolls and all manner of villainous deeds.

11- The Elemental Trilogy:

I read this last summer and I remember being totally and irrevocably falling in love with it. The series has the most intriguing of all beginnings, the prologue is so powerful that you’re immediately pulled in. There’s magic and a chosen one (a pretty confusing debate on that) and an evil dark wizard. The basic ingredients for a hit essentially. The winning aspect is the system of magic which is extremely detailed and at times baffling.

12- Wolf By Wolf:

Imagine if Hitler didn’t die as our history relates he did, imagine he lived long years after and kept his iron hold over the world. And imagine that he initiated a motor-cycle racing contest between the two reigning powers and used the winner as a poster child to control the masses. Throw shape-shifters into the mix. Sold yet?


These are the ones that I loved when I read and when I think about them I always remember what a fun time I had. But, I feel as if despite that, they didn’t stick with me as much as they could have or as much as the ones above did.

13- The Land of Ingary:

Ah! It was the film that did it. Studio Ghibli animations are exquisite works of art and they never fail to amaze me. I watched Howl’s Moving Castle on a whim and to this day I love it with all my heart. I gave the book a go a short while after it and found it remarkable. Diana Wynne Jones is a fantastic writer and this trilogy was wonderful. Plus, there’s sassy and arrogant Howl who you drool over instantly.

14- Red Rising:

I was always a reader, since I was 8 years old, to be exact but it was after reading Red Rising that this book-reading craze kick-started. From then on I was on a roll. Much like The Illuminae Files, this series never lets you breathe for even a second. It has violence, gore, language and, um, other stuff. It’s a full package. After a book and a half though, Darrow’s invincibility gets to you. Nevertheless, it’s an ultimate sci-fi extravaganza.

15- The Remnant Chronicles:

I found this series to be a bit lacking in the fantasy department, the world-building was vague and that’s never acceptable to me. The rest was stunning especially the protagonist Lia. Just to put it out there, this story has a love triangle and it’s one that you’ll most definitely enjoy watching unfold.

So there you go! These are the fifteen best book series I’ve ever read. The number is surely going to increase but for now these remain my favorites. Hope you enjoyed reading this and got some good recommendations. Let me know what you think in the comments!

Posted in Bookish Balderdash, Cool Sewing Projects

The Formidable Art of Book Sleeve-making: Demystified!

Alternatively, this post could also have been called How To Make A Book Sleeve: A Step-by-Step Guide as this is a written tutorial but that would have been SO boring. I don’t do boring.

If you’re a fellow bookstagrammer you would know the appeal of a thing such as this. Book sleeves are all the rage these days and have the book community at large going nuts, even though I personally find them unnecessary. Never make this case in front of a book nerd, though. They’ll only think you have gone mad. About 80% of the book merch subscription boxes or any other shop offers IS unnecessary. But the thing is, we DON’T care!
However, if you are an avid reader who does not use Instagram and has absolutely no idea WTF I’m even talking about, lemme help you out.

What, in the name of papyrus, is a Book Sleeve?

A book sleeve is just a rectangular pouch you put your book in to “protect” it.

At least, I think that was the initial idea behind its creation. Now, it’s just another cool thing a bookworm can brag about.
The funny thing is, if you search Google Images you will not find the book sleeve I’m talking about. There are a couple of other terms like Book Jacket and Book Buff for it but save for Instagram, no where on the Internet does it show you the right one. Instead you’ll get fabric covers much like a book’s cover jacket, the one you can take off.

Why, from a practical reader’s perspective, book sleeves are pointless:

I came across it on Instagram myself and while I thought it was a rad idea, I found it to be, you guessed it, unnecessary. Why do I think so? It’s simple really. Just like virtually anything can be used as a bookmark, so can anything be used to cover your book while you’re not reading it. The end. Wasn’t so difficult now, was it? (Also, since we’re on the subject, bookish candles. Like, what? We’re past the dark ages, ladies and gents. We have electricity now, well, some of us do more than the others. They only serve to be props for bookish posts which then allow the bookstagrammer to get more candles and post more photos… It’s a funny business, bookstagramming.)

Another thing is, if you’re traveling and you do that a lot, you might want to take a book or two with you. You can use a book sleeve to cover one book inside your travel bag to make it feasible, might make it easier to spot it and fish it out if you have a lot of luggage. But if you carry more books than one, then what? Would you put all 5 books in 5 book sleeves? If it was me traveling (which I don’t) and I had taken books to read with me (which I wouldn’t) I’d just stuff ’em all up in a tote bag or something. Problemo Solvedo.

Add it to the fact that I live in Pakistan where things like these are expensive, my personal opinion as someone who can only buy things she needs is that you can do perfectly well without buying a book sleeve.

Now, I advise you to put all of that aside as gibberish and read on because… IMMA SHOW YOU HOW TO MAKE A BOOK SLEEVE! YAY!

I told you, we book nerds don’t care. Our rational sides surface once in a while unfortunately but we recover real fast because TEMPTATION. Also, I said you could do without “buying” a book sleeve. I never said anything about making them yourself. Pay attention. If you happen to be a fellow bookstagramming bookworm who also happens to be a fellow sewist, you will get me a hundred percent.

I make tons of projects that I don’t need at all but just because they’re fun to make and offer a challenge, I take them up. Not helpful are the insanely gorgeous and awesome fabric prints which just beg to be used. The book sleeve in the picture above is the first ever I made, it wasn’t the last.

You won’t find any Youtube tutorials on this. Trust me, I checked. Just as well because this isn’t rocket science. It’s probably the easiest thing you can make. The only thing that I wanted to watch the tutorial for was the measurements. I made the first one on guesswork and the size turned out to be correct. I’ll stop rambling now and give you the measurements I found later while rummaging through book sleeve posts. Someone running a book sleeve account very helpfully posted a picture describing them (dear Lord, I talk too much):

Large (Hardbound)   9″ x 11.5″
Medium  7.5″ X 11″
Small (Paperback)  7″ X 8″

  • Keep in mind that these are not the finished sizes. You have to cut pieces according to any of these measurements.

Book Sleeve in simple steps:

This is perhaps the most straight-forward and easiest way to do it.

  1. Choose a pattern size then cut two pieces of the outer main fabric (cotton is recommended) and two pieces of the inner lining fabric (this can be cotton, silk, georgette, whatever you want, just bear in mind that it will show up on the inside).
  2. Lay both main pieces right side facing up and then adjust the lining pieces on top of them right side facing down. So the right sides of both sets should be together and the wrong sides should be facing upward.
  3. Pin the upper edges together so that their sides match exactly.
  4. Using a half-inch seam allowance, stitch the top edge of the rectangle. Do the same with the other set.
  5. Turn the seam ‘inside-out’ and press.
  6. Now you should have two pieces instead of four. Each with an outer fabric and a lining fabric and both of these fabrics should be right side out after pressing them flat.
  7. Put the pieces on top of each other, again, right sides together so that the lining fabrics are showing up and the outer fabrics are inside facing each other.
  8. Pin the sides in place.
  9. Again using a half-inch seam allowance, stitch the two long sides and the bottom. Clip the corners.
  10. Without turning the sleeve inside out, fold the upper edge of the sleeve about a half inch inside the lining and sew along the edge of the fold.
  11. Turn it inside out. It’s ready!


  • Just FYI, there are legit hundreds of ways you can tinker with and tweak your book sleeves. The way I do it the inside seams are completely hidden but that is a teensy bit more complicated. You can add pockets, you can reinforce it with fusible interfacing, you can embroider it or add other flourishes, zippers, straps, the point is; once you know how it’s done, it’s all up to you.

So, even if I don’t think they are a big deal as a reader, the sewist in me holds them in high regard. And for good reason! When I posted this picture on my Instagram account in April, within minutes I was contacted by a local book subscription box business and was given an order to make 10 book sleeves for them. It was THE most squeal-worthy thing that ever happened to me. I may be wrong, most of the times I am, but I think I’m the first person here who’s ever made a book sleeve for a bookish box  and I am PRRRRRRR-AAAA-OOOOOUUUUD! Even useless things have uses. That’s the lesson in this, children.

I hope you enjoyed my take on book sleeves; their usefulness, uselessness and making.

P.S: I would like you to know that I am open to custom orders. If you want one made just drop a message on my Instagram account @burqabelle and let me know. We’ll sort out the details there. Until then, cheerio!