Review: Crier’s War

Review: Crier’s War

Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3/5)

Years ago, the Kingdom of Rabu came under the control of the Automae after the war almost decimated the land. Now, humanity lives under their controlling and violent thumb. Ayla, a human servant, finds herself unexpectedly rising in her rank where she plots to kill the sovereign king’s daughter, Lady Crier. Crier is Made to be perfect, without a single flaw, ready to carry her father’s legacy. However, her recent betrothal sees her spot slipping right from under her, and meeting Ayla creates tension that can start a war, but can they rise above it and stop before it goes too far?

A couple of months ago, I saw the prettiest book cover reveal I had ever seen and, with no shame, decided that I had to read this book. When I took a look at the description and saw it was an F/F sci-fi/fantasy novel about automation? A double whammy. I had brought myself up to hype Crier’s War and counted down the says to its release. There’s a lot to love about Ayla and Crier’s story, much of it I loved, but I did find it a quite directionless a lot of time, which was disappointing, to say the least.

This isn’t an original set up but what made this story stand out was how Varela utilises the concept of automation ruling over humanity. Set in an alternate future where alchemy has crafted the Automae who now rule the land. Humanity created them when their Queen was unable to have children, but they quickly rose up against their creators. The core of this book is mainly about what it means to be human, is it free will or the fact we have blood running through us that makes us so? I found it interested how the author uses this story to discuss oppression, privilege and appropriation. Was I expecting it? No. Did I like it? Very much so.

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Monthly Rewind: November 2019

Monthly Rewind: November 2019

B O O K S

During the month of November, I read 5 books.

The Wolf of Oren- Yaro by K.S. Villoso – Queen Talyien finds herself stranded in a different land after her attempts to reunite her own kingdom leaves her fleeing a botched assassination attempt. Alone and actively being hunted, Talyien must embrace her namesake and show her enemies that a wolf of Oren-Yaro cannot be tamed. I’m a part of the 2020 international blog tour for this book! (Thanks to Caffeine Book Tours!) A longer review will be published in the new year!

Girls of Storm and Shadow by Natasha Ngan – Failing to kill the King has Lei and Wren travelling all corners of the kingdom to rally support. I really liked this sequel, falls victim to middle book syndrome, but nonetheless, the secondary characters saved it from being too terrible. My full review can be found here!

Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982 by Cho Namjoo – Taken from my review: ” This book is so simple in its concept, and the fact that it angered so many men does not surprise me. It holds a mirror to their privilege without actually calling them out, uncomfortable enough to make them uncomfortable. It lays down the facts and backs itself up, sending the message that hey this is what women are facing in Korea and it’s not okay. The story of Kim Jiyoung is full of silence but every bit powerful.

The Can Be Arranged by Huda Fahmy – Author of Yes, I’m Hot in This publishes her second book following the story of how she met and married her husband. Navigating gossiping auntys and societal expectations, Fahmy tells a hilarious story based on her experiences. Full review to come!

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Double Review: Goddess of the Hunter and Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982

Double Review: Goddess of the Hunter and Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982

Goddess of the Hunt

Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3/5)

“Artemis was a beauty, a terror, a force that nature bowed to, but only because she had bowed to nature first.”

A poetry collection about the life of Artemis, the Greek Goddess of the Hunter. Told through her perspective with the contribution of other Greek Goddesses. Eileen reimagines Artemis’s life and interprets her vow of chastity as aromanticism and asexuality.

There’s not much I can say for this as someone who isn’t an avid poetry reader, hence the short review, but I really liked the way Eileen uses Artemis to discuss self-love, sexuality and gender. It’s been a while since I’ve read mythology, but I’ve always had a soft spot for mythological interpretations. I can’t say I connected with most of the pieces, but the concept is unique.

There are also a few pieces which are from the view of other goddesses around Artemis. I had anticipated finding this jarring, but I was wholly surprised to find that I really enjoy their snippets. It includes Demeter, Persephone, Athena and Hera. (Along with others..) It’s a fun little read for anyone.


GOODREADS | AMAZON | AUTHOR

Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982

Rating: ★★★★★ (5/5)

*I received a copy via the publisher and NetGalley in return for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book.*

Why do I have to deny myself something I want right now to prepare for a future that may or may not come?”

Through the eyes of her therapist, we follow the life of Kim Jiyoung as she experiences everyday sexism all from birth, youth and into her adulthood where she becomes a stay-at-home mother, and begins to unravel under pressure.

Kim Jiyoung first came to my attention last year when a member of K-pop group Red Velvet, Irene, had recommended this book during a fan signing. I still remember the aftermath where many of her male fans cursed her, insulted her and even burnt pictures of her. Back then, a translation of the book did not exist, so when I found out it was being translated, I jumped at the opportunity to review one of South Korea’s best-selling feminist novels.

Rather than a full-length novel, Kim Jiyoung is more of a series of anecdotes – a string of events that chronicles her life, with interspersing stories of the women around her, e.g. her mother, mother-in-law and sister. The style is very objective, and the tale integrates quantitative and historical data.

The story is mainly set in Seoul, SK, but her experience is universal. Jiyoung realises from a young age that being a girl means something different, something less. She is served food last in her family, and if her siblings need to share, her younger brother is automatically given his own share while she shares with her sister. “He’s the youngest.””You mean he’s the son!” Just those two lines hit very close to home for me.

The story follows select moments of her life that reflect that society she is in. From the schoolboys who tease her to the men who force her to an uncomfortable alcohol-laden dinner party, the everyday sexism she is forced to accept slowly takes a toll on her. This book is so simple in its concept, and the fact that it angered so many men does not surprise me. It holds a mirror to their privilege without actually calling them out, uncomfortable enough to make them uncomfortable. It lays down the facts and backs itself up, sending the message that hey this is what women are facing in Korea and it’s not okay. The story of Kim Jiyoung is full of silence but every bit powerful.


GOODREADS | AMAZON | AUTHOR

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Review: Girls of Storm and Shadow

Review: Girls of Storm and Shadow

*I received a copy via the publisher and NetGalley in return for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book.*

Rating: ★★★★☆ (4/5)

After failing to kill the Demon King, Lei and Wren barely escaped with their lives. But this isn’t the end of their journey, unaware their plot failed, the duo must travel the kingdom to gain support from clans from all corners of the world. But a heavy bounty on Lei’s head makes this even more difficult and when tensions begin to make Lei doubt what she knows, can she succeed in her quest or will the dark magic finish the war before its even begun?

After finishing Girls of Paper and Fire, I eagerly anticipated the release of Storm and Shadow. And I can say that I’m not disappointed, although I was a little underwhelmed. But I still found it a solid read.

I won’t lie, Lei, despite being our main protagonist, was not the star of the show for me. Lei and Wren are joined by others, some familiar, some new. Despite how fractured it all becomes at the end, I truly loved the moments of everyone banding together in their journey. I thought the brashness of Bo and Nitta would be off-putting, but their sibling banter was hilarious and I had come to love their sibling relationship a lot. Merrin got my attention the most, his anger and frustration with everything going on around them was admirable. My heart broke a lot during a pivotal moment in this book. Lei and Wren go through a lot in this. Wren, in particular, shocked me quite a bit. I won’t say too much, but I’m glad Ngan utilised Wren’s past a lot more in this book, a shocking revelation made a lot of sense and really amped up my excitement for whatever comes next in the finale.

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Changes In My Reading Habits

Changes In My Reading Habits

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature once hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, but has now moved to That Artsy Reader Girl! Each week, a new topic is put into place and bloggers share their top ten (or your own amount) accordingly.

Last month, I was notified by WordPress that is was my six year anniversary for registering with them. Which makes the upcoming December, my fifth year since creating my own internet corner. Unless you happen to be the five spam users who followed me in the first year before Reading and Reviews (I was a very original content creator at age sixteen as you can tell) came to life, you’d know this site was meant to be my writing bin. 😂 As an avid user and writer of Wattpad, I was left with a lot of stories that didn’t fit well with me anymore. And this space was meant to keep them, in a private site, away from anyone’s eyes. (You didn’t miss much, fifteen-year-old Zaheerah was basic and unoriginal)

Since it has been almost five years since I created my blog, and I really wanted to use this week’s TTT to reflect on how my reading habits have changed during these almost five years. I came to the conclusion that I have obviously changed quite a bit over the last six years. Since then, I’ve gone through secondary school, college and on my way to having a degree. Education has taken up a lot of the last six years and I’m interested to see how my reading habit will change again once I’ve graduated. I remember, during a shift at work, an old college teacher came by and was telling me how university will be the greatest part of my life. I laughed along in the conversation but it really made me think about myself and how education has always been something of a traumatic experience for me.

I won’t lie and say university was a breeze because it wasn’t. These past three years have made me the most anxious and tired. To be honest, I still wonder if it was ever worth it for me. And when I look back at my blog, I can see where it got too much for because my activity was either busy or completely absent. I even deserted this site for practically a year because I was struggling too much. University took a lot out of me and made coming here on this site less exciting and made blogging a chore rather than something I love. Now that I approach the middle of my final year, my dissertation is almost set in stone, I feel like I’m getting better. I know a career in publishing will difficult to embark on but the past year made me realize how much I truly love the process of making a book. I used to dream of becoming an author, and I still write in my free time, mainly for my own entertainment. (Hey, if no one’s publishing a story about a Muslim teen surviving a zombie apocalypse, then I have to make do with my own shoddy imagination 😂) But having experienced helping other authors with sensitivity reading and editing made me realize the making someone else’s story come to life is just as satisfying. I have no idea what I’m going to do once I have a degree in hand, but I’m happy to be where I am in this moment

I have gotten a bit off track here, but let’s get back on with it: how have my reading habits changed?

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Monthly Rewind: October 2019

Monthly Rewind: October 2019

B O O K S

During the month of October, I read 4 books. As we reach the end of the year, my reading time really limits because of university. (May feels like a lifetime away right now, but I know it’ll be here in a blink of an eye 😂) But I really enjoyed the books I read this month!

Don’t Date Rosa Santos

“Don’t Date Rosa Santos was delightful and moving. Its emphasis on family and community makes it such a touching read, and one of my most surprising reads of the year. It really was something special.” Read my review here!

Crier’s War

One of YA’s biggest releases this year, and I really enjoyed it! It was a fun exciting read about two girls, one human, one Made, falling in love in amidst of a human revolution. It’s advertised as an epic fantasy but it felt more low key.

Other Words for Home

A sweet novel in verse about a young Syrian girl who moves to the US. It’s one of those stories that I wished existed when I was younger.

Goddess of the Hunt

A poetry collection about Artemis, Greek Goddess of the Hunt. Told through the perspective of Artemis with contribution of other Goddesses.

M U S I C

Make It Right (ft Lauv) | Run Away | Spark | Midnight Queen | Outnumbered | This Is Real (ft Ella Henderson) | Moonwalk | Trampoline

P O S T S

A feature section to highlight my favourite posts from my fellow bloggers that were posted this month. 

That’s it for this month! Tell me what went on in YOUR life this month! What sort of things was important for you this month? New obsessions? New TV shows? Or book? Any new song recs (I’m always open to new music!)? Best books you read this month?