Book Recommendations, Booksish Discussions

Books with a Resourceful Female Lead

It’s the fourth week of the Empire of Gold readalong and this weeks prompt for the photo challenge is resourceful female lead. How are you all getting along with the readalong?

The Daevabad Trilogy by S.A. Chakraborty – All the women in this trilogy are very resourceful in their own ways. Nahri & Zaynab both have to manoeuvre the politics of Daevabad to protect those they love and especially them being a woman means that they are underestimated and yet accomplish so much.

The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James – A young girl is the only person on the ship headed to a new planet and she has to ensure the ship stays running smoothly until it can get to the destination but there is something trying to hurt her.

These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong – Juliette has to work out what is happening in Shanghai and why people are dying and also manage the blood feud while also maintaining a cover that she is not working with a White Flower. I loved her so much.

The Tiger at Midnight by Swati Teerdhala – Esha has to use her wits to find what she is looking for while also avoiding the soldiers and she is all alone with no help from the others in the rebellion.

The Bloodprint by Ausma Zehanat Khan – A world where women are oppressed, Arian and Sinnia have to try to build a better world and do so with little resources or help.

The Extintion Trials by S.M Wilson – Storm has to survive on an island where dinosaurs roam free and they are the predators. She has only a few others she has to work with but cannot truly trust.

The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh – Shahrzad ensures that the Caliph won’t kill her by not completing her stories and eventually she will be able to kill him. She is alone in a palace and has to manage the politics and her own feelings.

The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell – Esta is a time travelling thief and has to try to stay hidden in a time that is not her own while also trying to lie her way into a gang so she can steal something that they can gain access to.

Share your recommendations too!

Fiction Books, YA Books

Enchantee by Gita Trelease – Book Review

I love historical fiction books especially when they have magic involved so I was super excited when my request for this book was accepted on netgalley. Thank you to Macmillan Children’s book for sending me this book. It does not affect my review in any way.

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Rating: 4/5

Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

Paris in 1789 is a labyrinth of twisted streets, filled with beggars, thieves, revolutionaries—and magicians…
When smallpox kills her parents, Camille Durbonne must find a way to provide for her frail, naive sister while managing her volatile brother. Relying on petty magic—la magie ordinaire—Camille painstakingly transforms scraps of metal into money to buy the food and medicine they need. But when the coins won’t hold their shape and her brother disappears with the family’s savings, Camille must pursue a richer, more dangerous mark: the glittering court of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette.
With dark magic forbidden by her mother, Camille transforms herself into the ‘Baroness de la Fontaine’ and is swept up into life at the Palace of Versailles, where aristocrats both fear and hunger for la magie. There, she gambles at cards, desperate to have enough to keep herself and her sister safe. Yet the longer she stays at court, the more difficult it becomes to reconcile her resentment of the nobles with the enchantments of Versailles. And when she returns to Paris, Camille meets a handsome young balloonist—who dares her to hope that love and liberty may both be possible.
But la magie has its costs. And when Camille loses control of her secrets, the game she’s playing turns deadly. Then revolution erupts, and she must choose—love or loyalty, democracy or aristocracy, freedom or magic—before Paris burns…

I really loved this book, there was great world building and I loved the characters so I was really invested in their story. The was a lot of intrigue and suspense and a major theme throughout the book was that everyone was hiding something so the deception kept me hooked. I wanted to know what was truly happening, who each of the characters truly were.

Each character had their own secrets for various reasons, from needing to blend in to keeping a loved one safe, and it made their deception grown until they were almost spiralling out of control. It really made me root for the characters and wanting them to work everything out.

I personally loved the romance in the story, even though there isn’t a lot of it, it felt very realistic for the time period it’s set in and honestly they were so adorable!
The world building was amazing, it was rich and intricate, so I felt like I was right there walking the streets with the characters. It shows Paris’ dark and bleak side where the common people live but also the glitz and glam of the aristocracy. It made it seem much more real.

I also loved how Gita incorporated true historical events and people into the story, from the revolution to Marie Antoinette to the hot air balloons. I especially loved how the hot air balloons were shown as the revolutionary event in the story as it was so accurate for that time and how the characters were so invested into making using a hot air balloon a reality. Their enthusiasm and zeal was completely addictive and it made me want to join them in the hot air balloon!

I was really glad to see that Gita accurately depicted the stark differences between the rich and the poor and how the rich often cared very little for the suffering of others. While Camille and Sophie had to deceive people to just be able to buy bread, the rich were gambling and drinking their days away. Showing this made it clear why the revolution happened.

I loved the diversity in the books and how it was portrayed from Lazare being half Indian and facing racism even amongst the aristocracy, with them making it clear that he is not their equal and Chandon having to hide his relationship because it was seen as unacceptable.

Although I loved the book I did feel it dragged a little near the end but it did not lessen my enjoyment of the book. Then the ending was a lot more fast paced and I loved the way it ended.

One thing I did love was that although there will be a book two, this book had a complete arc so you can technically read it as a standalone. I am most definitely looking forward to reading more and being back in this world as I so want to see what will happen with the characters during the revolution.

If you love historical fantasy books I highly recommend you pick this book up when it comes out in February!

Monthly Wrap Up

November Monthly Wrap Up

This has been a really busy month for me and with my health not being great either, it’s taken a toll on my reading. I haven’t had the best reading month in terms of new books that I’ve read but I have reread some of my absolute favourites so I think it’s still a win!

I think the fact that I have been feeling like I’m in a slump hasn’t helped my reading experience either. I have ended up watching tv and not feeling like picking up a book for days at a time. Although I think I’m slowly starting to come out of that!

But back to the books I read this month:

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1 Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa – I really enjoyed this book! It was different and I loved the main character! You can read my full spoiler free review here

2 The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty – I reread this book and I loved it even more the second time around! This is my favourite book this year! You can read my review here

3 Fawkes by Nadine Brandes – I really enjoyed reading this! It’s historical fiction and tells the story of the gunpowder plot through Guy Fawkes son and there’s magic! I really loved seeing the historical references throughout the story too.

4 The Caged Queen by Kristen Ciccarelli – I was a bit disappointed by this especially as I absolutely loved The Last Namsara. I think it’s because I didn’t love the main character in this so I kept wanting to see Asha and Torwin instead.

5 The Secret Seven by Enid Blyton – gahhh I cannot explain how much I loved these books as a kid and this is the first time I reread it as an adult and it was so nostalgic! I still really enjoyed it!

6 Revenger by Alastair Reynolds – I DNFd this book. 100 pages in and I still was confused by the terminology and what was going on.

7 A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi – this book was a hit and miss for me. I loved the way she showed the islamophobia but aside from that I did have some issues with the Muslim rep (I felt it was more her culture rep which isn’t the same thing) and I couldn’t relate to Shirin much outside of her having to deal with living as a Muslim post 9/11

8 Enchantee by Gita Trelease – another historical fiction book with magic! This time set in France during the time of Marie Antoinette. I actually enjoyed this book a lot and I’m already looking forward to the sequel (even though this one isn’t out until January). Review to come soon!

9 Light Years by Kass Morgan – I thought I wouldn’t enjoy this book, I don’t know why, maybe the cover? But I did end up enjoying it a lot! I am looking forward to reading the sequel especially after that cliffhanger ending!

10 Legendary by Stephanie Garber – I didn’t enjoy this one as much as Caraval but it still had that magic feel and the, what’s actually happening? Can you trust what you’ve been told? So I’m still looking forward to reading Finale especially as I feel as I’m more invested in Scarlet and Julian’s story than I am in Tella’s.

11 The Reckoning of Noah Shaw by Michelle Hodkin – after the ending of book one I couldn’t wait to read this and although we got a lot of answers we were also left with a lot of questions! And of course now I need the last book to know what will happen!

12 The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty – yes I did read this for a third time this month! I love it that much! And I highly recommend the audiobook! Seriously if you haven’t read this book then you need to go pick it up now!

13 I-Intimacy by Ismail Shaikh – I have spent several months reading this book slowly to really benefit from it. It’s a book that helps you build the best marriage from an Islamic perspective. It’s written really well including everyday problems couples face today and although it does use Islamic teachings it’s not preachy and he uses real life examples that he’s dealt with or has helped couples deal with. Highly recommend this book. Review to come soon!

14 The Extinction Trials Exile by S.M Wilson – wow I loved this book as much as the first! It’s fast paced and it kept me reading well into the night! So excited for the last book in this series!

15 Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo – I reread this after having read it back in 2016 and I forgot how much I loved it! I cannot wait to continue my reread for this series!

I also wrote the review for Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao (which I read in October). I enjoyed this a lot more than I thought I would! You can read my spoiler free review here

So these are all the books I read this month! What book was your favourite book this month? Did you find any new favourites? Or did you DNF any books?

Top 10 Tuesday

Top 10 Tuesday – Villains

Hey booknerds! I’m taking part in another week of Top Ten Tuesday!

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. You can find more information here

So this weeks topic is villains

I love the villains in books and films! They’re so interesting and twisted and often think that they are doing the right thing in their twisted way. So here are some villains that I love or love to hate.

1 Loki – he is my favourite marvel character and I love seeing him in books too! He’s the villain in the Magnus Chase books and I basically love him!

2 The Darkling from the Grisha trilogy – he’s another villain I love and was one of the few villains that I was actually rooting for in the books!

3 Queen Levana from The Lunar Chronicles – she was so evil and so twisted and she actually, truly believed she was doing everything for the good of the people. Her backstory is so tragic that I actually felt sorry for her

4 Aidan from Illuminae – my favourite psychopathic AI how can you not love him?!

5 The Jackal from Red Rising – another psychopath who was smart and calculating and just plain scary!

6 Maeve from Throne of Glass – she is twisted and terrifying and what we learned about her in the latest books just blew my mind! Aelin needs to kill her already!

7 The Commandant from An Ember in the Ashes – I find her more terrifying than the nightbringer, she is cold and smart and calculating and honestly I’m just waiting for the day that Elias will kill her

8 Sauran from The Lord of the Rings – Even though we don’t actually see much of him directly the destruction that he causes is horrifying

9 Xifeng from Forest of a Thousand Lanterns – she may be the villain but I was totally rooting for her!

10 – Umbridge from Harry Potter – well I was debating on whether I should have Voldermort on this list instead but I hate Umbridge far more that I have ever hated Voldermort. Honestly I wanted her dead more than him.

So these are some of my favourite villains! Ones that left a huge impression on me, whether it was because I wanted them to win or that I hated them with a passion! And do let me know some of yours!

Adult Books, Fiction Books

If Cats Disappeared From The World by Genki Kawamura – Book Review

So this book has a cat in it so I knew I had to read it! I love books that have cats in them especially if they show the relationship between the cat and their owner. So I was really looking forward to reading it and I really did enjoy this book.

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Rating: 4/5

This review has minor spoilers.

Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

Our narrator’s days are numbered. Estranged from his family, living alone with only his cat Cabbage for company, he was unprepared for the doctor’s diagnosis that he has only months to live. But before he can set about tackling his bucket list, the Devil appears with a special offer: in exchange for making one thing in the world disappear, he can have one extra day of life. And so begins a very bizarre week . . .
Because how do you decide what makes life worth living? How do you separate out what you can do without from what you hold dear? In dealing with the Devil our narrator will take himself – and his beloved cat – to the brink. Genki Kawamura’s If Cats Disappeared from the World is a story of loss and reconciliation, of one man’s journey to discover what really matters in modern life.
This beautiful tale is translated from the Japanese by Eric Selland, who also translated The Guest Cat by Takashi Hiraide. Fans of The Guest Cat will also surely love If Cats Disappeared from the World.

This book was different to what I was expecting but I still really enjoyed it. The book is thought provoking and deals with death and how we live our lives. The story follows an unnamed postman who has been told by his doctor that he has only months to live, then one day the devil appears and in exchange for making something disappear from the world he will get an extra day to live. This is when he begins to reflect on his life as each day something else disappears. Although this book has lots of humour, with the main character making light of some situations, overall the book is pretty sad as he realises how many regrets he has in life and no time to fix them.

He comes to many realises about the way he lived his life from not staying in touch with friends, how he should have been more affectionate towards his mother and how he wishes he had done things differently with his ex-girlfriend. This book makes us think about how we live our lives and that we should be the best version of ourselves and find joy in the smaller things in life.

We come to realise that each thing that the devil makes disappear is something that is significant to the main character. Were they chosen for a specific reason, to make him realise his mistakes?

The first item is phones, and while he thinks about what effect it will have to not have mobiles, the advantages and disadvantages of having phones. He spent most of his relationship talking to his ex-girlfriend talking to her on the phone instead of actually having conversations when they were together.

The second thing to disappear is films. This connects him to both his girlfriend and his friend in school, who is a huge film buff and who he lost contact with. He thinks about how he didn’t have any significant friends in his life to spend time with in his final days.

The third thing to disappear is clocks which connects him to his estranged father. His father is a clock repairer and someone who he hasn’t spoken to in years. He thinks about how when his mother was alive she wanted them to reconcile and thinks about why he hasn’t spoken to him.

The last thing that the devil decides to make disappear is his cat, Cabbage. This is when he begins to weigh the value of his life over making things disappear. Is it worth it to lose his only friend and the one thing that still connects him to his mum to have an extra day of life? He thinks about what his life would be like without Cabbage, and what would happen to Cabbage if he died? He starts to think about if anyone would miss him if he died, would anyone remember him? It makes you think about how you lived your life and whether you have lived a meaningful life and if anyone will remember you once you’re gone.

I think the only issue I had with the book was that the translation felt a bit awkward at times though I’m not sure if it’s the writing style itself or just the translation.

I do recommend reading this book it really makes you think about your life and how we spend everyday and how we should reflect on our lives and also about our relationships with family and friends.