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The Most Magical Reads Of All Time

Sometimes, I read a book that gives me a sense of wonder- like a child in a sweet shop but each jar contains a marvellous new world.

Today, I’ll be talking about my magical reads that filled me with awe and the books I’d reccomend to people looking for a whimsical and creative adventure.

The Night Circus:

The Night Circus was enchanting and while I was reading I kept wishing that it was real so that I could go and visit. It would be so amazing to explore all of the tents and see all of the performances. Throughout the book I was trapped in a bubble of amazement and awe.

The Harry Potter Series:

When talking about magical reads, Harry Potter is a no-brainer. Which place could be more magical than Hogwarts? All of the spells, hidden rooms and unusual creatures send my imagination on a rollercoaster ride!

The Toymakers:

The Toymakers is a poignant story about a magical toy emporium and it’s also a book I wish was real so I could visit it. It doesn’t just focus on the childish wonder associated with the emporium but the magic of friendship and family.

The City of Brass:

The City of Brass is set in Egypt and about a thriving city of djinn shielded from human eyes. The idea is so fascinating and the descriptions of the various djinn and their lives was so interesting! (My review of The City of Brass)

Circe:

Circe is based on Greek mythology so it’s bound to be magical. It’s full of gods and goddesses, heroes and fantastical creatures. It also merges together many well known legends and myths. (My review of Circe)

A Darker Shade of Magic series:

Parallel worlds, swashbuckling pirates and lots and lots of magic. This series has all of the ingredients for an amazing adventure. Red London, in particular, was awesome and I loved the idea of Antaris  (My review of A Darker Shade of Magic)

Strange the Dreamer:

Strange the Dreamer was whimsical and full of imagination. We get to delve into the real world and the dream world of the book and the characters are so loveable.

Uprooted:

Uprooted is a bit more sinister than the books mentioned above with its scary people-devouring trees and evil forest but it still takes the reader on a magically spellbinding journey.


What are your most magical reads? Have you read any of mine? Let me know in the comments!

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Book Tags · Uncategorized

The Coffee Book Tag!

Hello everyone! Today I’ll be doing the Coffee Book Tag. I’ve seen quite a lot of people doing it and it seemed fun so I decided to do it too

(1) Black Coffee | Name A Series That’s Tough To Get Into But Has Hardcore Fans:

The A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin because the books are very long and dense but there are still a lot of people who love it.

(2) Peppermint Mocha | Name A Book That Gets More Popular During the Winter or A Festive Time of Year:

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens… It’s kind of obvious why it gets more popular at Christmas because it’s about Christmas!

(3) Hot Chocolate | What Is Your Favorite Children’s Book?

Mr Clever by Roger Hargreaves– this is the book of my childhood.

(4) Double Shot of Espresso | Name A Book That Kept You On the Edge Of Your Seat From Start to Finish:

Winter by Marissa Meyer because it was so action-packed and exciting!

(5) Starbucks | Name A Book You See Everywhere:

I see Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling everywhere!

(6) The Hipster Coffee Shop | Give A Book By An Indie Author A Shout Out:

Theorie of a Storm by Jane Delaney!

(7) Oops! I Accidentally Ordered Decaf | Name A Book You Were Expecting More Of:

Caraval by Stephanie Garber because I thought it was going to be really good and then it just wasn’t…

(8) The Perfect Blend | Name A Book Or Series That Was Both Bitter And Sweet, But Ultimately Satisfying:

The Conqueror’s Saga by Kiersten White, when I finished this series I felt poignant but happy at the same time.

(9) Green Tea | Name A Book Or Series That Is Quietly Beautiful:

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern it’s beautifully magical but not in a flashy way.

(10) Chai Tea | Name a Book Or Place Series That Makes You Dream Of Far Off Places:

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor because it’s very literally dreamy.

(11) Earl Grey | Name Your Favorite Classic:

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen– I just love the relationship between Elizabeth and Mr Darcy so much!

I tag:

If any of the people I have tagged have already done this tag then sorry in advance!

Uncategorized · Reviews

Alien Potatoes and Life on Mars | The Martian Review

Author: Andy Weir

Year Published: 2012

  • Plot: 5/5
  • Characters: 4/5
  • Writing: 5/5
  • Overall: 5/5

If I ever happen to be stranded on Mars, I hope I have this book with me (although I still probably wouldn’t last very long!)

The Martian was a witty, edge-of-your-seat read about an astronaut called Mark Watney who gets left on Mars when a space mission goes wrong. All by himself on a foreign planet, he has to be resourceful and do whatever it takes to survive. I absolutely loved it!

Having already watched and enjoyed the movie, I can safely say that it’s way better because it’s more detailed and the ending makes more sense.

Some parts of the book are written diary-style from Mark’s perspective while the rest is written from third person and details what is happening back on Earth. I thought this was clever as we got to see Mark’s thoughts about his predicament and his survival ideas (as well as enjoy his humour) but at the same time we got to see how the people on Earth and the rest of his crew were dealing with the situation- the contrast between the two perspectives created a lot of suspense.

Mark was hilarious and random and bizarrely optimistic for a man all by himself on Mars. It was fun getting a glimpse into his thoughts and it was inspiring how he never gave up. He used everything at his disposal to ensure his survival from growing Martian potatoes to doing very dangerous sciency reactions to obtain water.

I also liked the relationships between the crew members. They were all loyal to each other and felt so guilty for leaving Mark behind even though they didn’t have a choice. The way they worked together and respected each other was lovely.

It was also heartwarming to see the lengths people went to in order to rescue Mark. Some may say it’s a waste to do all of that for one person, but that’s the beauty of humanity- every life counts.

It’s set in the future where we have the technology to travel to Mars and it’s packed with sciency jargon, but don’t let that put you off! It’s still easy to understand and enjoy without any knowledge of space science.

Overall, I found this to be a fun, thrilling read and I’d reccomend it to anyone who loves a good adventure!

Reviews · Uncategorized

ARC Review: The Descendant of the Crane

Author: Joan He

Date Published: 2019

  • Plot: 5/5
  • Characters: 5/5
  • Writing: 5/5
  • Overall: 5/5

The Descendant of the Crane was an intricate Chinese fantasy full of treachery and about a relentless hunt for the truth. I was constantly in suspense and it kept me guessing until the very last page.

The writing was exquisitely vivid, each word weaving a net that captured my attention and didn’t let go. Sometimes, I even felt as if I were a part of the story. The first half of the book was quite slow-paced, gradually building up and setting the scene. However, the second half was a constant stream of mind-shattering revelations and plot twists– my poor heart didn’t know what to do with itself!

The characters were all brilliant and multi-faceted. Hesina was the protagonist, a young woman convinced that her father, the king, was murdered despite the fact that everyone else believed it to be a natural death. Determined to deliver justice, she decided to start a trial to find the murderer and become the next queen. Even though she didn’t always make the right decisions and she had many misconceptions about her kingdom, it was admirable how she believed in herself and had the courage to pursue the things she thought were right. There were times when she wavered but when she made up her mind to do something, she did it formidably.

I also thought the relationships in the novel were well crafted. There wasn’t a heavy emphasis on romance (which I thought was good) but there was a lot about family. Hesina had a brother called Sanjing and although they loved each other they weren’t very good at showing it and had a strained relationship. On the other hand, she was very close to Caiyan and Lilian, who were her adopted siblings. I thought the way these relationships were contrasted was very well done. Also, there was Akira, the convict that Hesina asked to help her in the trial. He generally remained shrouded in mystery but we do get to learn small things about him here and there in the novel. I’m interested to see what his role will be in the next book.

A really important detail of the book was the sooths. They were people with almost magical powers who could do amazing things like seeing into the future. Due to previous historical events, the sooths were generally despised and shunned from society and there were terrible punishments for them and those who sympathised with them. Another reason I liked Hesina was that although everyone was telling her that the sooths were evil and deserved to be punished, she made up her own mind about them and wanted to bring equality to her society. Which is also something that we should all do today.

I adored this book, it’s definitely a new favourite. Honestly, it’s the kind of book that deserves to be a movie. If you like complex fantasies that constantly keep you guessing, then this book is for you!

Thank you to Albert Whitman Company and Joan He for providing me with an e-ARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review!

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Roses: Symbols of Romance or of Suffering?

It’s Valentine’s Day. The shelves are crammed with vibrant bouquets of red roses and boxes of dainty heart-shaped chocolates and they’re being sold in droves. For many, these are the ultimate symbols of romance- but are they really? Are your Valentine’s gifts slave-free

Many people think that slavery is a horrific thing of the past. However, all over the world today, modern slavery is rife. The products of forced labour and appalling working conditions are in our cupboards and on our plates.

It is estimated that over 250 million roses are produced for this day of love and according to the NRF, people in the USA alone planned on spending $1.9 billion on flowers this Valentine’s day. We create this demand and other people in all corners of the world have to pay. The flower industry is fuelled by forced labour. For example, Colombia is one of the world’s leading producers of flowers- especially roses. There have been reports of extremely low pay, long working hours and abuse of workers. Many suffer from health problems due to the harrowing hours and chemicals used and women work in exploitative conditions.

In the lead up to Valentine’s day, the demand for flowers rapidly increases, therefore, they need more workers- or they need to squeeze more hours out of the workers they already have. In India, the IJM rescued four boys from a rose farm where they were held as slaves. They had to pick and water thousands of roses and were beaten if they made mistakes. How can we allow this suffering to go on for the sake of romantic gestures? If a young child picks roses until their fingers bleed, how can gifting those roses be an expression of love?

How many of you love chocolate? Smooth, silky, slave-made chocolate. It’s a very popular Valentine’s gift and it can contain not one, but two products of slavery. Cocoa and palm oil. Every day, millions of children in the Ivory Coast, for example, harvest cocoa using dangerous methods and machinery. This taxing work is done by children who have probably never even tasted chocolate. These children may have also been trafficked and taken from their families who they may never see again.

The palm oil industry isn’t just driven by slavery but also accused of destroying rainforests and wildlife. Indigenous people are forced off their land to make way for palm oil production and children harvest and carry heavy loads of palm fruit while hunched over and exhausted. Big brands like Hershey and Nestle have been accused of using unethically sourced ingredients in their chocolate with roots in child labour and slavery. Is a moment of pleasure really worth the agony of other human beings?

Recently, I heard about this issue and I was shocked when I realised the extent of this problem. It’s atrocious yet so few people know about the plague of modern slavery on our world. Therefore, the purpose of this post was to raise awareness. I’m not saying that you should never sniff a rose or eat chocolate ever again. That will not solve this problem and not all roses and chocolate boxes are the products of slavery. I’m saying that we should put more thought into the things we buy and we should try to make more ethical choices- now that I know about it, I already am. We need to raise awareness and we need to let the world know that this is not okay. Taking away some people’s rights so others can enjoy luxuries is not okay and we will not stand by it. We should acknowledge the effect that the demand we create has on our fellow human beings. Is a bouquet of roses necessary to convey your love? Why isn’t a kind gesture or some quality time spent with loved ones not enough?

What can you do? Apart from raising awareness, the best thing to do is to buy ethically sourced Valentine’s gifts. You could buy locally grown roses or grow and cut your own, also, you could buy Fairtrade. For example, Arena is a UK seller of Fairtrade flowers. Furthermore, here is a list of slave-free chocolate brands that you could look into. Every small action makes a difference but we still have a long way to go to eradicate slavery once and for all.

How many broken hearts are behind this Valentine’s day?


Further Reading:

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Top Five Wednesday- Independent Ladies!

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme created by Lainey from gingerreadslainey and now hosted by Sam from ThoughtsOnTomes. You can find out more at Godreads group.

This week’s theme is ‘Independent Ladies’ and it basically is about leading ladies who aren’t always distracted by a love interest and get stuff done.

(1) Jude from the Cruel Prince

Nothing could ever distract Jude from her scheming- not even Cardan!

(2) Rin from the Poppy War

Rin would do anything to protect the people she cared about but she never relied on other people to do things for her.

(3) Essun from The Fifth Season

Essun did all that she could to be create a better world for those she loved and no annoying love interest got in the way of that.

(4) Baru from The Traitor Baru Cormorant

The thing about Baru is that she would make it look like she was getting distracted from her goals when really it was a part of her intricate plan all along and she always had something up her sleeve.

(5) Helene from An Ember in the Ashes

I think Helene was awesome. She was the only woman in an occupation that was supposed to just be for men and she proved to them that she was just as worthy- or even more so- as everyone else.


What are you top five independent ladies? Let me know in the comments!

Top Ten Tuesday · Uncategorized

Top Ten Tuesday- Favourite Book Couples

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme that was created by The Broke and the Bookish but is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s theme is ‘favourite book couples’, so here are mine, in no particular order:

(1) Rowaelin (Throne of Glass series)

I think Rowan and Aelin are just perfect for each other and I love the emotional journey they go on together in Heir of Fire. Also, I think they make each other better people.

(2) Jude and Cardan (The Cruel Prince)

The reason I like these two is because they like each other but they hate liking each other at the same time and I’m in the background going, “Just accept your feelings already!”

(3) Cresswell (The Lunar Chronicles)

Cress and Thorne are just adorable together. There’s nothing more to say.

(4) Elizabeth and Mr Darcy (Pride and Prejudice)

I love how it’s obvious they like each other from the beginning but they both have things they need to get past and understand before they can actually be together.

(5) Lazlo and Sarai (Strange the Dreamer)

These two are so sweet! They’re whimsical and dreamy and perfect together. Once upon a time there was a silence that dreamed of becoming a song, and then I found you, and now everything is music.

(6) Wesper (Six of Crows)

Wylan and Jesper are the most hilariously cute couple ever. “Maybe I liked your stupid face…”

(7) Kell and Lila (A Darker Shade of Magic)

Kell and Lila are like the ultimate power couple. And they’re awesome.

(8) Mehr and Amun (Empire of Sand)

Mehr and Amun get to know each other slowly by talking and sharing things about themselves before falling in love and it’s just so lovely to read about.

(9) Kaz and Inej (Six of Crows)

I love how Kaz and Inej are so guarded but they’re willing to open up for each other. I will have you without armor, Kaz Brekker. Or I will not have you at all.”

(10) Elorcan (Throne of Glass)

I like Elide and I don’t mind Lorcan when he’s around her because she makes him a much more tolerable person!


What are your favourite bookish couples? Do you like any of mine? Let me know in the comments!

Reviews · Uncategorized

Review: The City of Brass

Author: S.A. Chakraborty

Year Published: 2017

  • Plot: 3.5/5
  • Characters: 4/5
  • Writing: 5/5
  • Overall: 4/5

I went into The City of Brass with really high expectations and although I liked it, I didn’t love it as much as I wanted to.

We met Nahri, a thief who lived in 18th century Cairo who also had the mysterious ability to heal people’s diseases and injuries. After a few mishaps, Nahri becomes immersed in a magical world when she becomes entangled with a warrior-djinn called Dara. Together, they embark on a journey to the city of djinn and Daeva, called Daevabad. I found Nahri to be quite amusing to read about, but also a bit annoying because although Dara was the most exasperating and arrogant character in existence, she still liked him for some unknown reason and spent a lot of her time worrying and generally obsessing over him. It takes them about half the book to reach Daevabad, so the most fortunate reader must endure constant descriptions of them travelling, eating lentil soup, drinking unending cups of wine and talking. How exciting!

The other POV character is Prince Ali of Daevabad. I found him to be a far more interesting. In Daevabad, there were many divisions: djinn, shafit (half-djinn, half-human) and Daeva (similar to djinn but they worship fire). The shafit were treated as second-class citizens and many of their basic rights were taken away from them. The Daeva were also discriminated against, for various reasons. At the start of the book, Ali sympathised with the shafit and was discreetly funding a group dedicated to aiding them. However, as the novel progressed, it became clear that things weren’t as simple as they seemed at first and it became impossible to blame one group for all the events that had unravelled. I think this was skilfully done because as the reader, it’s almost instinctual to want to ‘take a side’, but I couldn’t because I could clearly see and understand all of the sides. It was interesting to see Ali’s loyalties being pulled in all directions. His loyalty to the shafit, his family and the other people he held dear were all held in the balance. I think he was a good person though, deep down inside, and I almost felt sorry for him as I watched him try to do what he thought was right.

It was nice to see some Muslim-rep. What was even nicer was that because I already understood and knew so much about the culture, language and religion my reading experience was increased tenfold. I have grown up hearing fantastical stories about the djinn and it was fascinating to see some of the things I had heard embellished and added to then woven into a sprawling story.

The plot wasn’t paced properly. The beginning of the book was painfully slow and dense then at the end… BAM! Suddenly, so many things were happening that didn’t make sense and weren’t explained properly and I was just very, very, confused.

Overall, I liked The City of Brass and my main issues with it were the pacing, the plot and some of the characters.



Have you read The City of Brass? Do you plan on reading it? Let me know in the comments!

Reviews · Uncategorized

Review: Onyx and Ivory

Author: Mindee Arnett

Year published: 2018

  • Plot: 4/5
  • Characters: 4.5/5
  • Writing: 4/5
  • Overall: 4.5/5

Onyx and Ivory was a compelling and original tale that emphasised the importance of friendship and family.

It’s tiring hearing about the same types of magic system again and again where giant fire balls, ice-swords or air shields are just conjured up on demand, no restrictions, all-inclusive with a fancy magical amulet, free of charge. That’s why I liked Onyx and Ivory, the magic system was really well explained and it was different.

There were two types of magic wielder: mages and wilders. Mages were legally allowed to perform magic and they all were apart of a Mage League. Their main role was to help and enhance the kingdom by imbuing objects with magical properties (eg. enchanted arrows or stones that make it appear as if the wearer has no blemishes). The Mage League was very rich and powerful due to their expensive prices and extensive influence.

Wilders were able to manipulate natural elements like fire, water, etc. However, their powers only work during the day and lie dormant at night. I liked that idea as it showed that the power had limitations. Some of them also had affinities, special abilities that no one else could explain. Wilders were feared for their unpredictable magic and the Mage League made it their mission to eradicate them.

At the start of the novel we meet Kate, a girl who became a Relay rider after being labelled as a traitor when her father, the master of horse, allegedly attempted to kill the king and was, therefore, executed. I felt really bad for her because what her father had done had nothing at all to do with her but she was still despised by many because of a crime that wasn’t her own. She was a wilder and had an affinity that allowed her to communicate with animals, especially horses.

Despite the fact that she was generally shunned, Kate still had two good friends. Bonner was also a wilder with an affinity that allowed him to manipulate metal. He was the best friend a person could hope for full of kindness and honesty. Furthermore, it’s an actual miracle to find a YA book where a male and female can be friends without falling helplessly in love with each other. Her other friend was Signe who was loyal to a fault and absolutely hilarious. Honestly, I was kind of jealous of Kate because she had such good friends that stood by her no matter what.

The other main character was Corwin, who was prince of a country called Rime. An event called the uror, which was heralded by the discovery of an animal that was half onyx-coloured and half ivory-coloured (hence the title of the book). I loved the idea of the uror and some of the challenges were really creative and exciting. Corwin seemed as if he would make a good ruler as he had an open mind about many issues. Although the romance between him and Kate was a bit boring and didn’t add much to the story, I liked it because they took their time (I really hate insta-love).

The main issue I had with the novel is that the ending was way too rushed and although the plot twist was lightly hinted at throughout the novel, it didn’t seem very plausible.

Nevertheless, I really enjoyed Onyx and Ivory and I would definitely recommend it.

Top Ten Tuesday · Uncategorized

Top Ten Tuesday- Upcoming Releases I’m On the Fence About

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme that was created by The Broke and the Bookish but is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Today, I’ll be listing the upcoming releases I’m on the fence about, which means the books I need help deciding whether or not they’re worth adding to my tbr list.

(1) The Beautiful by Reneé Ahdieh

I don’t usually read anything with vampires but I love Ahdieh’s writing so I’m really not sure if I should add it to my tbr.

(2) Romanov by Nadine Brandes

(3) The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman

(4) Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett

(5) Sky Without Stars by Jessica Brody and Joanne Rendell

(6) Wicked Fox by Kat Cho

(7) Broken Throne by Victoria Aveyard

I kind of liked the Red Queen series but I don’t know if I want to read a bunch of short stories about the characters or not.

(8) Superman: Dawnbreaker by Matt de la Pena

I read Wonder Woman: Warbringer in the DC icons series but I haven’t read any on the others and I don’t know if I would enjoy reading about Superman.

(9) Courting Darkness by Robin LaFevers

I haven’t read the His Fair Assassin books and Courting Darkness is set in the same world so I don’t know if it’s worth reading.

(10) The Cerulean by Amy Ewing


Are any of these books on your tbr list? Do you think they’re worth reading? Help me decide in the comments!