#RamadanReadathon 2020 TBR!

#RamadanReadathon 2020 TBR!

Salaam, everyone! I am (almost) back from blogging hiatus to announce my TBR for this year’s #RamadanReadathon! The purpose of this readathon is to celebrate and support Muslim authors during the blessed month of Ramadan. This year, the readathon will take place between April 23 – May 23 2020. With all of us spending Ramadan, and most likely Eid, in quarantine, I hope this year’s readathon will brings us together just that little bit more.

This year’s readathon will revolve around the upcoming release, Once Upon an Eid, which is an anthology of short stories from some of our current Muslim writers! What I love about this year’s readathon format is that the element is unrestricted, which can be a blessing and a curse for a hazard reader like myself. During Ramadan, I will also be submitting my dissertation and my final assignments of my degree, so the freestyle of this readathon makes it a lot easier to partake! No prompt or restriction except for the books must be by Muslim authors and thankfully my TBR is packed with them!

Below are the books I hope to read during this month!

The Kingdom of Copper

Nahri’s life changed forever the moment she accidentally summoned Dara, a formidable, mysterious djinn, during one of her schemes. Whisked from her home in Cairo, she was thrust into the dazzling royal court of Daevabad—and quickly discovered she would need all her grifter instincts to survive there.

Now, with Daevabad entrenched in the dark aftermath of a devastating battle, Nahri must forge a new path for herself. But even as she embraces her heritage and the power it holds, she knows she’s been trapped in a gilded cage, watched by a king who rules from the throne that once belonged to her family—and one misstep will doom her tribe..

I recently re-read The City of Brass last month and I was so shocked at how much I enjoyed it on my second read-through. I had initially read COB as an arc and rated it 3 out of 5 and now, looking back at the rating and review, I can really see how much stress can impact my reviews. I had first read COB in a very stressful period in my life and since the book was so heavy, I didn’t appreciate it the first time around. Granted, I was still stressed reading it my second time around, but I really paced myself this time and I can’t believe how different I feel about it now! Now I’m super excited to dig into The Kingdom of Copper and this readathon came at a perform time! Expect a full trilogy review once I’m done!


The Empire of Gold

I have purposely not included the description for The Empire of Gold because I am plan on reading this and The Kingdom of Copper for this readathon and I don’t want to spoil myself for this series! I’m usually don’t care that much about spoilers but I am adamant to not have this series ruined or me! A copy of The Empire of Gold was given to me via Netgalley.  


 

The Henna Wars

When Nishat comes out to her parents, they say she can be anyone she wants—as long as she isn’t herself. Because Muslim girls aren’t lesbians. Nishat doesn’t want to hide who she is, but she also doesn’t want to lose her relationship with her family. And her life only gets harder once a childhood friend walks back into her life.

I’ve been follow Adiba on twitter for a while now and it’s so much fun watching someone you follow go through the process of publishing their own book! Also have to support my fellow Bangladeshi as well!!


 

Once Upon an Eid

Eid: The short, single-syllable word conjures up a variety of feelings and memories for Muslims. Maybe it’s waking up to the sound of frying samosas or the comfort of bean pie, maybe it’s the pleasure of putting on a new outfit for Eid prayers, or maybe it’s the gift-giving and holiday parties to come that day. Whatever it may be, for those who cherish this day of celebration, the emotional responses may be summed up in another short and sweet word: joy. The anthology will also include a poem, graphic-novel chapter, and spot illustrations.

Of course, I couldn’t not add our honorary book! I’m so excited to see what stories are included. I’m super excited to read the graphic novel chapter!


The Light of the Bottom of the World

At the end of the twenty-first century, the world has changed dramatically, but life continues one thousand feet below the ocean’s surface. In Great Britain, sea creatures swim among the ruins of Big Ben and the Tower of London, and citizens waver between fear and hope; fear of what lurks in the abyss, and hope that humanity will soon discover a way to reclaim the Earth.

Meanwhile, sixteen-year-old Leyla McQueen has her own problems to deal with. Her father’s been arrested, accused of taking advantage of victims of the Seasickness-a debilitating malaise that consumes people,often claiming their lives. But Leyla knows he’s innocent, and all she’s interested in is getting him back so that their lives can return to normal.

This one has been on my TBR for too long! And I’ve been hearing a lot of good things about it! It’s sci-fi and dystopia so it’s right up my alley!


Okay, so that is my extremely short TBR but hopefully keeping it this short will make it more realistic to complete. Also, cnsidering that S.A. Chakraborty’s books are long as hell, one book could qualify as two. Check out Nadia’s introductory post where she includes other book options if you’re thinking of joining! I’m late as hell (as usual) to announce my TBR but I’m so excited to see what else Nadia has in store for this month. Be sure to follow her on all her social and the readathon’s account to keep up to date with the possible upcoming author interviews, twitter chats and giveaway! Not everything is confirmed yet, but do check it out if you have the time!

And that’s all from me, hopefully, I’ll be posting more frequently as I wrap my degree (very scary) and I hope everyone is keeping safe in the middle of this epidemic. Keep practising good social distancing and take care of yourself! I’ll see you all soon!

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Ranking Every Colossi in Shadow of the Colossus

Ranking Every Colossi in Shadow of the Colossus

As always during the most stressful moments of university, I find myself latching onto certain games as a form of comfort. My first year of university it was The Sims 4, where for the first time I actually bought an expansion and stuff packs. The second-year was replaying Nintendo’s newest addition to The Legend of Zelda series, Breath of the Wild. For the third year, I feel like it’s a juggle between Stardew Valley and Shadow of the Colossus. My childhood gaming experience was exclusively being a backseat spectator to my older brother, and Shadow of the Colossus was a game I remember fondly as a child. I didn’t even mean to pick up the game. I was scrolling through my brother’s PS4 games, deciding what I was going to play once I had finished my final assignments. I had decided on the Kingdom Hearts series, another game franchise where my entire experience of it came straight from peering over my brother’s shoulder. I was even considering just starting the game right there and then, but knowing my tendency to fixate on games once I get hooked, I didn’t want to risk it when I’m buried under paperwork. So, there on the bottom of the list was Shadow of the Colossus. I had ignored it initially, mainly because I recall it looking rather challenging to play but when you’re stressed from multiple essays and deadlines, all coherent thoughts go out the drain, and I started a new save file. (I would say thank God for easy mode on the PS4, but even I struggled at times.)

My first thoughts playing the game was how much I remember and how much I’ve forgotten since the days of watching over my brother’s shoulder. The plot of the game stayed with me long into adulthood, but my terrible memory was a saviour at this moment because everything still felt brand new. Even though I played on Easy mode, I still struggled and to be honest, that is just who I am as a player. Even in the moments of frustration when I accidentally let Wander fall from the top of a colossus, and I swear that I won’t play this game again when I finally completed it, I still found myself opening the game the very next day to repeat the process all over again.

So, this post isn’t a review of Shadow of the Colossus and, like my BOTW post, I want to showcase what I liked about the game, but I couldn’t bring myself to list certain aspects definitively. So instead, I decided to rank my favourite colossi. This isn’t a list of worst to best (since I don’t think any of them as actually bad) but more a ranking of how much I enjoyed fighting each other. Also, if you haven’t played the game before, you primarily traverse across barren land to revive a girl named Mono by defeating sixteen massive beings (Colossi), aided only by your horse, limited weapons and the voice of a mysterious creature.

Note to anyone reading this post and hasn’t played the game: of course, spoilers but I’ll also be referring to the colossi with their fan-given names.

Continue reading “Ranking Every Colossi in Shadow of the Colossus”

Double Review: That Can Be Arranged and The Black Hawks

Double Review: That Can Be Arranged and The Black Hawks

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

That Can Be Arranged

In her second comic, Huda Fahmy recounts the story of how she met her husband, Gehad. Marriage is always tricky, and especially for Huda as she faces gossiping aunties and overbearing parents who want the best for her. That Can Be Arranged is hilarious, quirky and quite refreshing. A simple story which also discusses misconceptions about the autonomy of Muslim women, and offers another way to understand what life is like for a Muslim woman in a modern age.

Fahmy’s sense of humour is strange, but I surprisingly enjoyed it. I see a lot of her art on Instagram so I knew I had to read this one. The story is practical, nothing too extreme, and I really enjoyed how open she was about her spirituality in her story. I also appreciated how she’s so unabashed when it comes to expressing all her struggles.

I’ll admit the art style isn’t my taste, but her wit and humour really makes up for it. Fahmy’s story is quick and simple, yet makes its mark about her longing to find someone, the struggles it entails and making sure she gets married for the right reason and with the right person.


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The Black Hawks

Rating: ★★☆☆☆ (2/5)

Bound to a dead-end job in the service of his uncle, life isn’t all that for Vedren Chel. That is until the kingdom is thrown into chaos, and Vedren finds an out: escorting the stranded prince who promises his oath would be dissolved. But dragging a prince while being hunted by enemies on all sides isn’t easy and when they find themselves in the company of the Black Hawks, Vedren’s dream to return home drifts further away from him.

It hurt a lot to not like this one. I was really excited to read The Black Hawks, but nothing was really impressive about this book at all. The pacing was all off, the fight scenes were exhilarating but they were immediately followed by extreme moments of utter nothingness.

Chel was both annoying and amusing at the same time. He doesn’t seem to do much apart from getting beat up violently and somehow surviving. The prince in question is quite immature, but we get no clarity in his age, or I either missed it. The Black Hawk Company had the makings to be so good. But their humour fell flat for me. I wasn’t sure if Chel was supposed to grow to enjoy their company or be terrified of them because, in the end, Chel comes to like them, but I don’t think that development really came through in the story.

The last quarter of the book did really interest me. But the overall story just didn’t entice me enough to care about continuing this series in the future. Maybe I will, maybe I won’t. Or maybe, it just wasn’t the right time and I’ll have to check out reviews of the next book in the future to decide if this one deserves a second chance.


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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

“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.


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Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982

*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.


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Book Titles with Numbers

Book Titles with Numbers

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.

I’m actually surprised that this week was actually a lot more difficult than I had expected. Apparently, I don’t often read titles with numbers in them and if I do, I’m not a fan. 😂 Apart from Check, Please!, I love that series a lot. If you have a book you love with a number in the title, drop a title, apparently I need some more options!

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Check, Please!: Year One

Eric Bittle—former figure skater, vlogger extraordinaire, and amateur pâtissier—is starting his freshman year playing hockey at the prestigious Samwell University. And it’s nothing like co-ed club hockey back in Georgia. For one? There’s checking.

It’s a story about hockey and friendship and bros and trying to find yourself during the best four years of your life.

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Fire Colour One

Sixteen-year-old Iris itches constantly for the strike of a match. But when she’s caught setting one too many fires, she’s whisked away to London before she can get arrested—at least that’s the story her mother tells. Mounting debt actually drove them out of LA, and it’s greed that brings them to a home Iris doesn’t recognize, where her millionaire father—a man she’s never met—lives. Though not for much longer. Iris’s father is dying, and her mother is determined to claim his life’s fortune, including his priceless art collection. Forced to live with him as part of an exploitive scheme, Iris soon realizes her father is far different than the man she’s been schooled to hate, and everything she thought she knew—about her father and herself—is suddenly unclear. There may be hidden beauty in Iris’s uncertain past, and future, if only she can see beyond the flames.

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The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett

A teenage misfit named Hawthorn Creely inserts herself in the investigation of missing person Lizzie Lovett, who disappeared mysteriously while camping with her boyfriend. Hawthorn doesn’t mean to interfere, but she has a pretty crazy theory about what happened to Lizzie. In order to prove it, she decides to immerse herself in Lizzie’s life. That includes taking her job… and her boyfriend. It’s a huge risk — but it’s just what Hawthorn needs to find her own place in the world.

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The Million Pieces of Neena Gill

Neena’s always been a good girl – great grades, parent-approved friends and absolutely no boyfriends. But ever since her brother Akash left her, she’s been slowly falling apart – and uncovering a new version of herself who is freer, but altogether more dangerous.As her wild behaviour spirals more and more out of control, Neena’s grip on her sanity begins to weaken too. And when her parents announce not one but two life-changing bombshells, she finally reaches breaking point.But as Neena is about to discover, when your life falls apart, only love can piece you back together.

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13 Minutes

Natasha is the most popular girl in school. So why was she pulled out of a freezing river after being dead for thirteen minutes? She doesn’t remember how she ended up in the icy water that night, but she does know this—it wasn’t an accident, and she wasn’t suicidal.Now Natasha’s two closest friends, who are usually her loyal sidekicks, are acting strangely. Natasha turns to Becca, the best friend she dumped years before, to help her figure out the mystery.At first Becca isn’t sure that she even wants to help Natasha. But as she is drawn back into Natasha’s orbit, Becca starts putting the pieces together. As an outsider, Becca believes she may be the only one who can uncover the truth…which is far more twisted than she ever imagined.

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27 Hours

Rumor Mora fears two things: hellhounds too strong for him to kill, and failure. Jude Welton has two dreams: for humans to stop killing monsters, and for his strange abilities to vanish.But in no reality should a boy raised to love monsters fall for a boy raised to kill them.Nyx Llorca keeps two secrets: the moon speaks to her, and she’s in love with Dahlia, her best friend. Braeden Tennant wants two things: to get out from his mother’s shadow, and to unlearn Epsilon’s darkest secret.They’ll both have to commit treason to find the truth.During one twenty-seven-hour night, if they can’t stop the war between the colonies and the monsters from becoming a war of extinction, the things they wish for will never come true, and the things they fear will be all that’s left.

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The Fifth Wave

After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother-or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.


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Review: The Ten Thousand Doors of January

Review: The Ten Thousand Doors of January

Rating: ★★★★☆ (4/5)

*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.*

After growing up under the watchful eye of her wealthy benefactor, Cornelius Locke, who employs her father to travel the world in search of unique oddities and treasures to add to his growing collection, January Scaller can’t help but feel part of the furniture: well kept but mostly ignored. However, when her father disappears, she discovers a book that sends her into the new worlds which lay behind secret doors. With an unlikely crew including the grocer’s son and a mysterious woman hired by her father, January begins her search which will ultimately question what she knows and the world around her.

It’s been a few days between finishing the book and writing the review you read now, and I’m kept thinking about it. So I’m not even sure how to explain what worked so well with this book. I didn’t even have any expectations for this book, and its cover mainly enticed me. However, when I finished reading, I was utterly enthralled. The open concept of the story seems so simple, but Harrow does such a great job at making it so unique, spinning a tale of love and loss and finding yourself after a long time. The characters stood so well on their own, but when they come together, they are a team to adore. This book is what I’d call a quiet read: nothing loud nor brutal. Harrow creates such an atmospheric tone that shone through this book entirely. As a child, a common daydream of mine was finding doors to new worlds, so January’s journey truly felt like a love letter to my own childhood dream. 

January is a young girl who feels lost until she accidentally discovers a book that opens her world beyond the Locke estate. Set in the early 1900s, January is aware of her privilege and her ability to live a life of wealth that most mixed-race girls would never have been granted. I also appreciated that the book didn’t shy away from racism, classism and sexism, especially for the period its set in. She discovers the existence of Doors that open into new worlds and learns about the true circumstance of her family history. Reading this book felt quite dreamlike, the writing so lyrical and immersive, a calling to those who wish to wander to lands beyond our wildest dreams. 

January as our protagonist is incredible, a fish out of water and must survive on her own for the first time in her life. I felt for her need to leave and discover life on her own terms. Jane, hired by January’s father, is equally compelling. Samuel, the grocer’s son, is lacking in characterisation but can’t really give it much fault as he isn’t as crucial to the story as the two leading ladies. The book also follows two others: Adelaide and Yule Ian, two people who cross many worlds to find each other, their story the most heartbreaking in my opinion. The villains are corrupted, faceless men who move in the shadows they have created, and are hellbent on making sure January doesn’t bring a flame to their power. 

Overall, I adored the Ten Thousand Doors of January. A charming and magical adventure about a girl who persevers in the face of resistance. A story I didn’t know I needed, but I will appreciate for a long time. 


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