Posted in General Books, Sundays In Bed With..., Weekly Wrap Up

Sundays in Bed With… #MyWeeklyWrapUp

We’re back with another Sundays in Bed With… meme! This meme dares to ask you what book has been in your bed this morning and is hosted by Midnight Book Girl. Come share what book you’ve been you’ve spent time curled up reading in bed with, or which book you wish you had time to read today!

IT’S SUNDAY. THIS SUCKS.
Okay, I’m trying not to get too upset that it’s Sunday. I’ve been procrastinating MANY THINGS outside of reading in the last week and it’s all catching up to me now! DO NOT FREAK OUT is my mantra at the moment and well, it’s not really working. But I digress… This Sunday I spent half the day in bed with The Priory of the Orange Tree and I’m making slow but steady progress. I’ve finally got the characters and storylines straight and I’m highly anticipating when it all comes together because I feel that shit hitting the fan is imminent! I think my problem so far has been that while I’m enjoying it, when I put it down to do other things I don’t feel the urgent need to pick it up again. This is a group read over on Twitter though and I’m so thankful for people like Sammie and Leelynn for keeping me extremely motivated! I’m about 40% of the way through… So maybe there’s hope that I can finish this before the end of September?!

A world divided.
A queendom without an heir.
An ancient enemy awakens.

The House of Berethnet has ruled Inys for a thousand years. Still unwed, Queen Sabran the Ninth must conceive a daughter to protect her realm from destruction—but assassins are getting closer to her door. Ead Duryan is an outsider at court. Though she has risen to the position of lady-in-waiting, she is loyal to a hidden society of mages. Ead keeps a watchful eye on Sabran, secretly protecting her with forbidden magic. Across the dark sea, Tané has trained all her life to be a dragonrider, but is forced to make a choice that could see her life unravel. Meanwhile, the divided East and West refuse to parley, and forces of chaos are rising from their sleep.

What are you currently reading?

I pretty much did ZILCH this weekend? Like, nothing. The best thing about it has been lazing in bed. I didn’t sleep in but I also didn’t get out of bed until close to lunchtime on all weekend. Yes, I’m really a panda at heart (sleeping, eating and rolling around is my jam) 😂 I spent Saturday trying to get motivated to take bookstagram pictures. I’ve been feeling very uninspired lately and it’s not coz I don’t enjoy being part of the booksta community anymore, it’s just completely due to my mental health which hasn’t been in the best state lately. I honestly don’t even know how I spent my day yesterday coz even though I read (I also finished a reread of The Hating Game), I didn’t make that much progress with Priory? Anyway, I did make it out of the house today! Although I made grand plans at 2AM about how to spend my Sunday, I ended up lazing in bed again! I went out to get coffee and to do a bit of grocerysnack shopping though!

I have a presentation that I’ve been avoiding all week last week, and until now I’ve done the bare minimum for it, and I have to present it to my boss tomorrow. WHY AM I SO GOOD AT AVOIDING IMPORTANT SHIT?! 😭 It’s an afternoon meeting so I still have time to work on it in the morning (this is me avoiding again!) but I really thought I’d get some work done today. Instead, I’ve been catching up on blogs, doing a bit of reading and thinking about doing more reading. Le super sigh. 🤦🏻‍♀️

Reading & Blogging Recap

Being stuck on Priory means that I’ve only managed to finish two books this week: Fake Date and The Hating Game. You can find my review for Fake Date in the list below, but I still need to review The Hating Game! It was a re-read and I completely loved it all over again. It needs to be known that: I LOVE JOSH 4 EVA. Like, he’s my number one and I’m obsessed with him. He’s… I need a Josh. In my life. All that banter! All that tension! *swoon*

Other than that it’s been a pretty decent blogging week. I’ve finally caught up on the majority of comments and posts of blogs I’m subscribed to! My inbox is once again super clean and I definitely feel accomplished (if not for the fact that I did all this while avoiding the one thing that I shouldn’t be avoiding today! We can’t all be perfect though, amiright?! 😅I’m now off to make some dinner and to continue reading Priory and on that note, check out a recap of my posts this week, in case you missed any:

Review: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Top 5 Saturday: Over 500 pages!
Friday Favorites: Autumn Reads
First Lines Friday: 20 September
Bookish Thoughts: Why I Love My Kindle
Review: Fake Date (Dating #2) by Monica Murphy
WWWWednesday: 18 September
Review: The Ingredients of Us by Jennifer Good
#TopTenTuesday: Things to Eat/Drink/Listen to While Reading/Blogging!
Review: Godsgrave (The Nevernight Chronicle #2) by Jay Kristoff
Goodreads Monday: 16 September

I’m also leaving you with this song that was stuck in my head for the majority of the day. I haven’t listened to Death Cab for Cutie in ages but … You really can’t go wrong with this classic!

How has your week been? Hope everyone has/had a great weekend!
Let me know how you’re doing in the comments and let’s chat, friends 🙂

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Posted in Book Reviews, Contemporary, General Books, Young Adult

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas – #BookReview

Goodreads: The Hate U Give
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary, Contemporary Fiction
Reviewed: August 2018
Panda Rating:

“What’s the point of having a voice if you’re gonna be silent in those moments you shouldn’t be?”
Sixteen-year-old Starr lives in two worlds: the poor neighbourhood where she was born and raised and her posh high school in the suburbs. The uneasy balance between them is shattered when Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, by a police officer. Now what Starr says could destroy her community. It could also get her killed.

Side note: I reviewed this book in 2018 and well, this was really at the start of when I started reviewing books more. I think I probably could’ve said a lot more about this book but I just really sucked at writing reviews back then, which you can obviously tell!

“Sometimes you can do everything right but things will still go wrong. The key is to never stop doing right”

I think this book has shot to the top of my best reads in 2018 and I think it will be one of the books I recommend people read if they ask. I cried countless times and laughed like crazy while reading this. I loved the Carter family and their relationship with each other; I loved that despite the tough situation Starr found herself in, the family could still find reasons to laugh and they continued to live their life doing good and right. I also loved the sense of community that was shared too. It was like a shared commiseration of their situation but still, they didn’t let that get them down.

Honestly, I admit that I found Starr’s attitude a bit childish/petulant at the beginning, I realized that I was expecting her to act like an “adult” and to speak from that “adult perspective”. Once I realized how silly my perception was, and I changed how I viewed her character, I realized that Angie Thomas perfectly captured a young teenage girl who is not only going through the typical “high school drama” but is also trying to navigate her way through the two worlds she straddles, without having to diminish herself in any way. She struggles but she gets there in the end. It was a heart-wrenching, heart-warming journey that I’m glad we got to go on.

“Brave doesn’t mean you’re not scared. It means you go on even though you’re scared.”

This book covers such important issues (prejudice, injustice, racism) that unfortunately haven’t lost traction in today’s “modern world”. It’s disheartening, frustrating and mind-boggling to know that issues people faced decades ago are still an issue today – it’s like humans haven’t progressed and we’ve only regressed. Okay, I’m discounting all the good people in this world, but it’s frustrating to know that people are still so arrogant and so blind to their privilege and that they refuse to acknowledge that they are, indeed, privileged…

Anyway, before I go on a crazy rant about this, I will say that I recommend everyone read this book. I hope people read this and come away with some understanding. Thomas provides a glimmer of light amidst the darkness with this one.

Have you read The Hate U Give? What’d you think of it?
Let me know in the comments and let’s chat!

Posted in General Books, Top 5 Saturday

Top 5 Saturday: Over 500 pages!

It’s time for another Top 5 Saturday, a weekly meme created by Mandy @ Devouring Books and this week’s topic is: books over 500 pages. I’ve decided to dive into my terrifyingly large Goodreads Want-To-Read list for this week’s post! I was surprised by how many books I had on there that were over 500 pages, but I also kind of expected more 😅 I was also surprised by which books were 500+ pages; some I really had no idea of at all (despite having some of these books on my actual shelf) That really tells you just how aware I can be! Without further ado, here are five books over 500 pages that I want to read:

Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak – 512 pages
I received a gorgeous edition of this book during my first Christmas in the UK, and I got it as a Secret Santa gift too. I was definitely impressed! Seven years later, and I still haven’t touched it yet 🙈 LOL

Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James – 620 pages
This is probably one of the most hyped books I’ve ever seen hyped on bookstagram and of course I was sucked in by it! I haven’t read any of James’ books despite having three of them on my shelf, and while I’m really curious, this book also scares the hell out of me. I’m worried I won’t “get” it lol

The Secret History by Donna Tartt – 629 pages
So… I still haven’t managed to finish a book by Tartt yet. The Goldfinch is still sitting unfinished on my shelf 🙈 and looking at it eats me up with guilt (sort of). But while I’ve heard people have struggled with Goldfinch, a lot of people have loved The Secret History, so I’m looking forward to it!

Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie – 647 pages
I am dying to read this book but it’s also intimidating AF. I don’t always gel with magical realism and from what I hear, Rushdie might be the king of the stuff. It scares me, but I’ve also heard incredible things about this book, so I’m determined to at least try reading it!

The Way of Shadows (Night Angel #1) by Brent Weeks – 659 pages
I’ve seen a lot of love for this book since I’ve joined the book community and it sounds really good. I only just realised that it’s a pretty hefty book, though since it’s fantasy, I’m really not surprised lol

What are books you want to read that are over 500 pages? Any of these? Recommendations in the comments below are very welcome!

Posted in Friday Favorites, General Books

Friday Favorites: Autumn Reads!

It’s time for another Friday Favorites hosted by Kibby @ Something of the Book! This weekly meme is where you get to share a list of all your favourites based on the list of prompts on Kibby’s page. Sounds fun, right? This week’s prompt is: autumn reads! If you’ve been following my blog or any of my socials for a while now, you’ll know that I’m an epic mood reader. I don’t really set TBRs, they’re more like possibility piles that I never really get to in the end? But I also don’t generally read based on seasons. While this is mostly because of my mood, I also live on a tropical island where there’s only one season: STEAMING SAUNA HOT. But when I think of autumn, I tend to think of thrilling/spooky reads a la Halloween, pumpkin spice and all things nice, and also, witches? Here’s a list of 5 books I haven’t read yet, but that I think would make the perfect autumn read. Kidding, I’ve already read one of them!

Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell and Faith Erin Hicks (Illustrator)
This is the first book that comes to mind because in my eyes it is the epitome of fall. Just look at that cover! But it’s set in the Disneyland of pumpkin patches, it’s filled with delicious fall foods/drinks, and the story warms your heart and makes you want to wrap yourself up in flannel!

The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman
I haven’t read this one yet, and neither have I read Practical Magic, but this definitely fits with my thoughts on Halloween vibes with a little bit of witchy magic! I hope it doesn’t freak me out lol

These Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Sterling
I’ve heard a lot of good things about this read. I’ve actually just now noticed that it’s a series (oops) but I think witches + fall do make for a perfect combination!

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
When I think of autumn and the cooling weather, I also can’t help but get some melancholy twinges, and I think that fits well with how this book is likely to make me feel. I’m gonna be a wreck!

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman
Sometimes you just need a book that you can cozy up with under your doona and that’ll make you feel all warm inside after you finish reading it. I think Nina Hill is going to be one of those books!

Are you a seasonal reader? What are some of your favourite autumn reads? Leave me a comment below and let’s chat!

Posted in First Lines Friday, General Books

First Lines Friday – 20 September

Yayaya, HAPPY FRIYAY, book lovers and friends 😍We’re back with another First Lines Friday! This is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines? Here are THE RULES:

  • Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first
  • Finally… reveal the book!

First lines:

“The Nazi officers are dressed in black. They look at death with the indifference of a gravedigger. In Auschwitz, human life has so little value that no one is shot anymore; a bullet is more valuable than a human being.”

Do you recognize the book these first lines come from?

Okay, okay, calm yourself Loki, mate...

*drumroll please!*

The book is: The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe

Based on the experience of real-life Auschwitz prisoner Dita Kraus, this is the incredible story of a girl who risked her life to keep the magic of books alive during the Holocaust.
Fourteen-year-old Dita is one of the many imprisoned by the Nazis at Auschwitz. Taken, along with her mother and father, from the Terezín ghetto in Prague, Dita is adjusting to the constant terror that is life in the camp. When Jewish leader Freddy Hirsch asks Dita to take charge of the eight precious volumes the prisoners have managed to sneak past the guards, she agrees. And so Dita becomes the librarian of Auschwitz.
Out of one of the darkest chapters of human history comes this extraordinary story of courage and hope.

Have you read The Librarian of Auschwitz or is it on your TBR?
Leave me a comment and let’s chat 🙂

Posted in Bookish Thoughts, General Books

Bookish Thoughts: Why I Love My Kindle

Side note: I don’t normally do these posts because I don’t feel that I can convey my thoughts and opinions as well as other bloggers do. But I decided to take the plunge this week and I’m hoping it doesn’t fail lol I’d love to know if you enjoyed this post, so I know whether to try doing them more often!

As you can probably tell from the title 😏 today I want to talk about my Kindle and the reasons why I love it. I guess this topic really brings it back to the often discussed ebooks vs. ‘real’ books debate. I obviously still love my paperbacks and hardcovers, but I can’t deny the many advantages that my Kindle gives me, especially as an international reader.

And so the story goes…

Here’s a little backstory: I got my first Kindle the Christmas after I finished my MA degree in 2012. I was slated to finish with a 2:1, which isn’t a distinction but I’m not the best student and I was honestly just elated that I managed to complete my degree! Lmao. Obviously this meant treating myself, but my partner at the time beat me to it and got me the First Edition Kindle for Christmas. It was probably one of the best gifts I’ve ever received! But that was 2012 and since then, I’ve moved on to the Kindle Paperwhite (2015), followed this year by the latest model (2018), which I was “forced” to upgrade to when an unfortunate accident involving my backpack, laptop and Kindle, rendered the 2015 model dead. Sad times, but we don’t talk about it! 💔

Basically, it’s waterproof (but not exactly stupid proof)! Sorry, I’m mean…

I was really tempted to get the Kindle Oasis because it’s a beaut, and I use my Kindle often enough to justify the hefty price tag, but I still couldn’t bring myself to do it. I’m hoping that *somebody* is going to take a hint that I want it and purchase it for me on my birthday or Christmas/New Year though. Who knows! But the newest Kindle Paperwhite is still pretty awesome. It’s practically got 90% of the Oasis features, it’s just bigger (same size as the OG Paperwhite), and half the price!

Let’s talk about love…

There are so many things to love about the Kindle. To state the obvious, it pretty much fits in every bag. I have this tiny Herschel backpack that won’t even fit flip flops, but my Kindle fits perfectly in it! I can conveniently take it everywhere. Sometimes I just don’t want to take paperbacks/hardcovers with me when I go out because they add quite a bit of weight to my bag and I’m so lazy. Plus, I usually fly a lot for work and reading on my Kindle means I don’t have to stop reading when they dim the lights on planes, and I don’t need two hands to read it while standing (i.e. waiting in queues). Not to mention you can have HUNDREDS of books with you at all times and you don’t need more shelf space. I mean, what’s not to love about that?! This indulges the mood reader in me as I can easily browse through the many unread books *coughcough* on my Kindle library and switch to different reads if I’m not feeling it with the ease of a few taps. Another great thing is that I can highlight all the passages and have it automatically stored and linked to Goodreads, which makes finding the important bits super easy to find come review time. I can even share my highlights on Goodreads if I wanted to.

But the best thing about having my Kindle is that I can get so many of the latest releases, more obscure backlist books, and e-ARCs. Living in Indonesia means the newest releases don’t come out until they’re no longer “new”, if they ever release in stores at all. Sure, I can pre-order or get them online, but living on the other side of the world means that books take 2-4 weeks, sometimes longer, to reach me and my impatient ass just can’t deal with that–even if sometimes I don’t read my newest buys right away. But… that’s a different story you can read on my TTT post about avoiding books on my shelves. Yes, even the ones I’m so desperate to get! As for ARCs, well, I can just forget about ever getting physical copies, but I can at least get the e-ARCs on my Kindle. WINNING! 👏🏽

Missing out?

So what am I missing out on when I’m reading on my Kindle? I honestly don’t have a very long list! I mean, it’s definitely not the same reading experience as holding a book, flipping pages and inhaling the new/old book smell; but there are worse things. Also, if I really love an ebook, I usually also want to add it to my physical shelf, so I end up having double copies and that also means bye-bye money (my savings get so sad)! Something that does annoy me about my new Kindle is that the battery runs out much faster. I don’t know why, since I don’t even use the bluetooth feature; but again, it’s not a big deal because it charges quickly!

So was this post basically just an endorsement for the Kindle? Yes. Yes, it was, but I really love my Kindle Paperwhite and I couldn’t imagine my life without it, especially because I would definitely be reading a lot less!

Do you have a Kindle? Do you also love it as much as I love mine? And if you don’t, would you get one or are ebooks not your jam?

Posted in Book Reviews, Contemporary, General Books, Romance

Fake Date (Dating #2) by Monica Murphy – #BookReview

Goodreads: Fake Date (Dating #2)
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Fiction
Panda Rating:

Working at Bliss, Sarah Harrison deals with all sorts of—interesting clientele. Yet no one sparks her interest more than Jared Gaines, the ultra-rich, ultra-sexy businessman who frequents her shop, buying delicate little “gifts” for the women in his life. But one day, Jared sends her a gift from Bliss. Then another—and another. So when Sarah walks into his office demanding to know why he can’t stop sending her gifts, he makes her an offer she somehow can’t refuse: be his fake girlfriend for the weekend while attending his brother’s engagement party.
Next thing Sarah knows, she’s in San Francisco, pretending to be in love with Jared. Not that it’s a hardship. Once you get the man away from the office, he’s much more relaxed. Sweet. Funny. Even…thoughtful? Oh, and sexier than ever, of course. Their pretend relationship feels very real, very quickly. Soon Sarah’s in over her head. Could what she and Jared share turn into something real? Or is it all actually…fake?

I’m torn between 2.5-3 stars for this. Fake Date was a very easy and quick read that was enjoyable enough for me in certain parts, but it sadly lacked depth/development. I know not all romances need it, but as this sits at almost 400 pages, you’d think there’d be more substance. When I first saw this book I didn’t realise it was part of a series, but it works as a standalone too. I liked where the story was going initially, but the follow through wasn’t quite there. This had a few sexy scenes, but the actual scenes are fade to black or very mildly sexy (imo), but I wasn’t fussed. The build up of tension was great though, and it’s honestly what kept me going (what can I say, I’m a sucker for the angst).

I enjoyed Sarah’s character well enough, although her indecisiveness got to me (literally one minute she didn’t care about Jared’s attention, and the next she’s walking with an extra swing in her step so he’ll notice her sexy hips). She kept repeating until the end that she didn’t like Jared, even after they got together and all her emotions surfaced, and it just became a bit eye-roll inducing. I felt her character wasn’t as well formed as she could’ve been, and that was a little disappointing. I loved her relationship with her siblings and her friends though, and I wanted more of that!

When it comes to Jared… Look, y’all know we love a good grumpy bear of a hero who changes as he lets the heroine chip away at his very high and strong walls, teaching him how to love again, how to be civil to people again, etc. etc. It heightens the tension between characters and gives you all the angsty drama feels, and usually without too much drawn out drama. Unfortunately, Jared was a bit too much of an asshole and he never really changed by the end. We were told by various characters half-way through that he was changing, but we’re never really shown it; and when we do see it, the change was so abrupt that it felt forced. I understand that those walls came up because of the losses he experienced, but I felt that his attitude was entirely OTT. Some of the things he’d say were waay out of line and it angered me that each time he’d say something degrading or rude, he’d need someone to point out what a douchebag he was being and who’d force him to apologise. Like, are you seriously that dense, mate? I liked that Sarah didn’t let him get away with shit, but she’s also not his mother and shouldn’t be continuously reprimanding him for his bad behaviour.

My favorite part about this book is the group of strong supportive women though. This is what every woman needs in their life: friends who tell it like it is without being vindictive or catty, and who support you wholeheartedly. I loved that there were so many women supporting women scenes, even between the would be ‘enemy’. It’s so refreshing and much needed in romances!

Overall, while I’m a little disappointed in how it turned out, I’m still glad I picked this up because the blurb really caught my eye. Will I read the first book of the series? I’m not sure. But I think I’d like to check out book three because Candice’s character really grew on me and I want to hear more about her!

Have you read Fake Date? What’d you think of it?
Let me know in the comments and let’s chat!