Book Review: Not A Fairytale by Shaida Kazie Ali

Not a FairytaleGoodreads Synopsis

Salena, the elder of two Cape sisters, is light-skinned and demure, an easy one to marry off to a husband of her parents’ choosing. Zuhra is dark and willful, refusing tradition and leaving the country in pursuit of her own destiny. The shoots of their lives grow apart and interlace again. Salena finds herself in a repressed marriage much like her mother’s. Zuhra comes to suspect grim undercurrents to both their lives, which she expresses by retelling familiar fairytales, often hilariously, in a Muslim framework. But this is not a fairytale. The dark forest is real, and so are its secrets.


This is the first book I’m reading by a South African author and the hype is way too real. From the beginning of the book already you get a sense of the culture and what it’s like to be a part of it. I must admit that a few things did come as a bit of a shock to me; like the father doling out slaps as if they’re Christmas gifts. I know this was how [our] parents were raised but these days thing like that don’t fly.

I finished Zuhra’s tale pretty quickly and I enjoyed it a lot. From a young age it was easy to see that she was quite the free spirit and wouldn’t allow anything or anyone else to choose her path for her. Her narrative style was very entertaining and I found myself getting lost in her words.

I definitely liked Salena’s part more than I did Zuhra’s. It also didn’t escape my notice that while Zuhra’s POV was told from the first person while Salena’s was in third person. I enjoyed that for the uniqueness it was.

The differences between the two sisters and how they were treated was made obvious from the very start and it’s only when we delve deeper into their respective POV’s that we realise just how different they actually were.

After finishing this book I can easily say that this was one of the best books I read in 2017. The way that Shaida drew me in, I’m in a state of shock over how amazed I am. There were little recipes spread throughout the book that I really enjoyed and I think that was a genius idea.

Here’s one of them: (just the ingredients) 

Potato Curry

2 tbsp oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp mustard seeds
1 onion, finely chopped
1 tomato, finely chopped
½ tsp tumeric
1 tsp powdered dhania
½ tsp crushed garlic
½ tsp crushed ginger
1 green chilli, chopped
4 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
salt to taste
1 cup water
finely chopped dhania leaves for garnish

As my first book by a South African author, I’m really glad this was it. It far exceeded my expectations. This has really motivated me to seek out more books by South African authors and also to further expand my knowledge on other cultures.

Read: 25 January 2018
Rating: ★★★★

Publication Date: 17 January 2018
Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Robert Venditti
Illustrators: Danny Miki | Tony S. Daniel

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Wrap Up: January 2018 (and February TBR)

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Afflicted Damage (2017-) #1 Give Me Five (The Princess Diaries, #5) Percy Jackson and the Greek Heroes by Rick Riordan

Afflicted by Susanne Valenti

I took way to long to actually read this book but once I was in the zone, I was in. The. Zone! My rating for this isn’t very high but that doesn’t take away from the overall enjoyment. Looking forward to continuing this series. See review here.

Damage #1 by Robert Venditti

This issue gave enough information for me to be sure that I want to continue this series. I can’t wait to see how Ethan fights the monster he knows he’s not, but everyone thinks he is. Not to mention the actions that kind of proves it. Review to come soon.

Give Me Five by Meg Cabot

I really enjoyed this one! I hope I never get annoyed by this series and Mia’s tendency to obsess on one thing for almost 300 pages because I still have six more books to go so that would suck. Onward we go to Sixsational! Review to come soon.

Percy Jackson and the Greek Heroes by Rick Riordan

I LOVED this! After reading The Sword of Summer I was a bit reluctant to read another Rick Riordan book so soon (I know it’s been a year but come on) but I’m glad I decided to ignore that voice in my head and finished this book in a whopping 3 days. That hasn’t happened in a while. Percy is the man! Review to come soon.

Total Read: 4 Books


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The Girl on the Train The Graveyard Book Life of Pi Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices, #1) Me Before You  (Me Before You, #1)  Invader Zim Vol. 1 

ARCs

Sleight The Weight of a Wing (The Stolen Wings, #1) Heartborn Loving Ashe: Book 1 of the Celebrity Series Soothsayer: Magic Is All Around Us (Soothsayer Series #1) Ever Shade (A Dark Faerie Tale, #1) Unseen (Breaking Free Book 1)  Jaeth's Eye (The Agartes Epilogues, #1) Demolition Love The Labyrinth Eve The Soul Reaper The Tower's Alchemist (The Gray Tower Trilogy, #1) Can't Buy Forever

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Book Review: Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare

Lord of Shadows (The Dark Artifices, #2)Goodreads Synopsis

Would you trade your soul mate for your soul?

A Shadowhunter’s life is bound by duty. Constrained by honor. The word of a Shadowhunter is a solemn pledge, and no vow is more sacred than the vow that binds parabatai, warrior partners—sworn to fight together, die together, but never to fall in love.

Emma Carstairs has learned that the love she shares with her parabatai, Julian Blackthorn, isn’t just forbidden—it could destroy them both. She knows she should run from Julian. But how can she when the Blackthorns are threatened by enemies on all sides?

Their only hope is the Black Volume of the Dead, a spell book of terrible power. Everyone wants it. Only the Blackthorns can find it. Spurred on by a dark bargain with the Seelie Queen, Emma; her best friend, Cristina; and Mark and Julian Blackthorn journey into the Courts of Faerie, where glittering revels hide bloody danger and no promise can be trusted. Meanwhile, rising tension between Shadowhunters and Downworlders has produced the Cohort, an extremist group of Shadowhunters dedicated to registering Downworlders and “unsuitable” Nephilim. They’ll do anything in their power to expose Julian’s secrets and take the Los Angeles Institute for their own.

When Downworlders turn against the Clave, a new threat rises in the form of the Lord of Shadows—the Unseelie King, who sends his greatest warriors to slaughter those with Blackthorn blood and seize the Black Volume. As dangers close in, Julian devises a risky scheme that depends on the cooperation of an unpredictable enemy. But success may come with a price he and Emma cannot even imagine, one that will bring with it a reckoning of blood that could have repercussions for everyone and everything they hold dear.


There might be spoilers for Lady Midnight for those who haven’t read it yet. You’ve been warned.

I got this book the day it came out and I started it not too long after and it took me quite a while to finish it. I wasn’t worried because while I find Cassandra Clare’s work addictive, I always seem to take years to finish one book. I also had to put the book aside for a while because of studies but once I picked it up again, I couldn’t put it down again nor did I want to.

Lord of Shadows picks off roughly where Lady Midnight ended so we don’t miss anything. Major things happened in the first book and we were sent in blind, not knowing what awaited us around the corner. It’s like a jar tipped over and all its contents fell out and it made a mess of everything. That was Lady Midnight. Lord of Shadows focuses on putting everything back in but taking stock of each item as it’s returned. That doesn’t mean that it’s over though. It seems that we’ve barely scratched the surface and by the end of this book I was searching to see when The Queen of Air and Darkness is coming out. Thank goodness it’s been moved forward to 2018, so no more two year wait.

Once again I’m glad that Cassandra Clare doesn’t focus on the love aspect of the series too much because that does become distracting at times. Of course this all revolves around Emma and Julian’s feelings for each other since their love is forbidden and I am curious about why that’s the case. But, even though that is what the motivation is for some of these situations, there’s a bigger picture here that’s being painted and I’m eager to see what exactly that is.

“I want you to know what it’s like. To be tortured all the time, night and day, desperately wanting what you know you should never want, what doesn’t even want you back.”

Christopher ‘Kit’ Herondale has been added to the mix and we’re seeing the Blackthorn family from an ‘outsider’s’ POV. All this we’ve seen them through Julian and Emma’s view and there are so much that can be learnt. Kit blended in so easily with the crew, it’s as if he’s always been there. His constant battle of whether he wants to be a shadowhunter or not was…refreshing. With the characters in The Shadowhunter Chronicles, you either are or you aren’t. He could choose if this was the life he wanted and I think that’s a big deal because not everyone loves what they’re born into. *Note: we’re not looking at Simon here. He’s a special case.

There was so much action that went on in this book. I don’t remember where we had a moment of peace to just regroup before the next hunt was underway. I loved it though. As I mentioned before, I couldn’t put this book down. I was constantly at the edge of my seat anxious about what was about to happen next. From book one, there has definitely been some major character development and that’s always a good thing.

New enemies have been made and maybe they’ve been waiting in the shadows for a long time. Old enemies have come to the light and in short…a war is coming. I’m still trying to wrap my head around the fact that Lady Midnight and Lord of Shadows were buildups to the climax that hasn’t happened yet. More is coming but my heart’s already been ripped out, sides have been chosen, I’ve cried and ached with these characters. I do know that even though I’m impatiently waiting for the next book, I am not ready.

“Break my heart. Break it in pieces. I give you permission.”

This quote can’t be more true. Cassandra Clare, there you have it. Do with my heart what you will because I’m here for all of this.

All the characters in this book are a team whether they’re aware of that fact or not. The good guys are at least. Bad guys are just the enemy. Cassie Clare has once again joined them and we know that it starts with a small few. I have to admit that each series within the Shadowhunter Chronicles have become a bit repetitive but they have their differences even if history does seem to be repeating itself over and over again.

I’ll be honest, I cried while reading this book. Of course it’s no secret that there are themes, some major, of LGBTQ in the Shadowhunter Chronicles and I’m all about any kind of positive representation. I felt so happy that the community is a part of this and I had to take a moment to compose myself.

Let’s talk about that ending though. Like, how dare you Cassandra Clare rip my heart out like that? It’s already been broken and stomped on. I did not need that extra punch to the gut. I want to know what that was all supposed to achieve. Oh well, I guess we’ll find out in the next book.

I did rate this book 5 stars yes, but I won’t gloss over the fact that there were a few things I disliked in and about the book. The constant POV changes…it made the book read like a movie and it got confusing at times. Just as the scene got really interesting, we’d jump over to someone else. So many POV’s. I understand that Clare wanted us to be in the loop about what was going on everywhere but at times it seemed like a bit too much.

I don’t want to end off this review on a bad note though. I definitely enjoyed LoS a lot more than I did Lady Midnight. I felt that there was a lot more action and plot to this book and I loved the constant need to know more. My curiosity was piqued and sated. Once again, Clare wrote an amazing book and I was hooked from page 1. I’ll go find a corner to sit in till the release day of The Queen of Air and Darkness.

 

Read: 12 September 2017
Rating: ★★★★★

Publication Date: 23 May 2017
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Link to Author’s Goodreads Page: Cassandra Clare

  • My review for Lady Midnight here.
  • My reviews for other books in the Shadowhunter Chronicles here.

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Book Review: City of Glass by Cassandra Clare

City of Glass (The Mortal Instruments, #3)Goodreads Synopsis

To save her mother’s life, Clary must travel to the City of Glass, the ancestral home of the Shadowhunters – never mind that entering the city without permission is against the Law, and breaking the Law could mean death. To make things worse, she learns that Jace does not want her there, and Simon has been thrown in prison by the Shadowhunters, who are deeply suspicious of a vampire who can withstand sunlight.

As Clary uncovers more about her family’s past, she finds an ally in mysterious Shadowhunter Sebastian. With Valentine mustering the full force of his power to destroy all Shadowhunters forever, their only chance to defeat him is to fight alongside their eternal enemies. But can Downworlders and Shadowhunters put aside their hatred to work together? While Jace realizes exactly how much he’s willing to risk for Clary, can she harness her newfound powers to help save the Glass City – whatever the cost?

Love is a mortal sin and the secrets of the past prove deadly as Clary and Jace face down Valentine in the third installment of the New York Times bestselling series The Mortal Instruments.


I’ve noted in my other reviews that I with this reread of the series, I’d be reviewing the books as I go along.

This was only the second time that I read City of Glass and I can say right off the bat that I enjoyed it immensely, maybe even more than when I read it for the first time. So many things happened in this book and I can’t believe how much I had forgotten.

We start off almost right where City of Ashes left off and I like that the books aren’t paced too far apart because that gives us the sense of not having missed out on anything. I feel that this book tipped the scales for the series because it was an end but also the beginning of so much more. Because of all the events that happens, we’re basically looking at a climax but not the climax that means the end is night. I know that hardly makes sense but bare with me for a moment here.

Clary, whom we know is the main character (kind of) is not as annoying as she used to be. She is maturing but not as fast as I’d like. I don’t notice much of her annoying ways anymore mainly because there are so many other things going on that I only pay attention to her when it’s her POV.

I still think that Jace needs a hug to be honest. The thing about Jace in this book is that he’s reached his  boiling point. All this time he’s been confused on which pathway to go down and now one has been highlighted for him, and all he has to do is decide whether to follow it or not.

It’s in this book where we’re given the opportunity to see exactly what these ‘children’ are capable of. No one listens to them because what do they know? But it’s for that reason that they’re able to accomplish so much, because they have so much more that they need to prove.

This book is where we’re met with an enemy worse than Valentine and it breaks my heart to know that there’s no redemption for that part of this person and the worst thing is…it isn’t his fault. He didn’t ask for it but the rest of the world has to suffer the consequences.

There is so much character development that takes place! Malec for starters because that’s a big deal. Izzy is starting to act like the Isabelle Lightwood I know her to be and Simon isn’t acting butt hurt over not getting the supposed love of his life. Even Maryse Lightwood as removed the stick from her rear.

City of Glass has so far been the most emotional book in the series for me because as I said, so many things happen that it’s hard to grasp it all. I felt anger, betrayal, heartbreak but it’s the undivided strength and power of family that makes me feel so incredibly happy. They may not all be of the same blood biologically but they all share the same ideas and stand together. Here we see people agreeing to stand together against a common enemy and there’s something so satisfying about that.

We know this isn’t the end, far from it actually, but the gears are turning. This was only the tip of the iceberg and an avalanche is coming.

This read has only made me even more excited to continue the series and I anxiously look forward to that day.

Read: 21 August 2017 (reread)
Rating: ★★★★★

Publication Date: 24 March 2009
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Link to Author’s Goodreads Page: Cassandra Clare

  • My review for City of Ashes here
  • My reviews for other books in the Shadowhunter Chronicles here

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Wrap Up: May 2017 (and June TBR)

SO delayed!!

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This Is What a Librarian Looks Like: A Celebration of Libraries, Communities, and Access to Information The Nightingale Circus (Broken People, #0.5) Supergirl: Rebirth #1 (Supergirl 2016, #1) Secret Wars #0 (FCBD 2015) Secret Wars (2015-) #1 (of 9) Then Comes Love (Then Comes Love, #1) The Giver (The Giver Quartet, #1) Time in a Bottle The Time Keeper City of Ashes (The Mortal Instruments, #2)

This is What a Librarian Looks Like by Kyle Cassidy

This book needs to be in all libraries. I deserves to be noticed and I think that this was easily one of the best reads for me this year. See review here.

The Nightingale Circus by Ioana Visan

I really enjoyed this novella, as I do with Ioana Visan’s work. I want to read Broken People so I can find out more about the circus and the people that use it as their safe haven. See review here.

Supergirl: Rebirth #1 by Steve Orlando

This was a different and fresh view of Supergirl for me. I enjoyed this short piece and I’m definitely considering reading more about her. See Review here.

Secret Wars #0 by Jonathan Hickman

It’s about time I started this event. I think everything was summed up pretty well in this piece. Review to come soon.

Secret Wars #1 by Jonathan Hickman

I thought this was a pretty good start to the whole event. Definitely got me even more intrigued. Review to come soon.

Then Comes Love by Lindsay Detwiler

A cute, funny, quick read. I really liked this book and enjoyed it tremendously. See review here.

The Giver by Lois Lowry

I’ve had this book for a few years and I took way to long to actually read it. I really liked it and I want to read the rest of The Giver Quartet. See review here.

Time in a Bottle by Kathleen D. Tresemer

I had a few issues with this book mainly because the proper trigger warnings weren’t applied but I really did enjoy the writing. See review here.

The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom

This was definitely one of the better books I’ve read this year. I can’t believe I took so long to get to it. See review here.

City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare

And so the reread continues! I loved this read a lot more the second time around and seeing my babies growing up is always a pleasure. See review here.

Total Read: 10 Books


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Revival, Vol. 3: A Faraway Place The Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 2: Fandemonium A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #3) Lord of Shadows (The Dark Artifices, #2)

ARCs (I swear this list is getting shorter)

Sleight Heartborn Loving Ashe: Book 1 of the Celebrity Series Soothsayer: Magic Is All Around Us (Soothsayer Series #1) Ever Shade (A Dark Faerie Tale, #1) Unseen (Breaking Free Book 1) Teeth: The First Bite (Teeth, #1) Jaeth's Eye (The Agartes Epilogues, #1) Demolition Love The Labyrinth Eve The Soul Reaper The Tower's Alchemist (The Gray Tower Trilogy, #1) Can't Buy Forever

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RST: It’s Lord of Shadows Release Day!

Okay, so this RST is going to be slightly different from the others but not really. Who even cares, LORD OF SHADOWS COMES OUT TODAY!

Cassie Clare is my favourite author, this is no secret, and she could write a grocery list and I’d treat it like gold! I fell in love with TMI and TID from the moment I picked them up and my love for Cassie Clare as an author and a person has grown so much more over the years. She has written characters who have become a few of my favourite: Simon, Magnus, Alec and Isabelle and I cherish those moments I read about them.

When Lady Midnight came out last year I was there freaking out along with the rest of the fandom and it was a battle staying away from anything that could possibly be a spoiler to the book. Alas, I couldn’t read the book immediately because of my book buying ban and had to wait till the Shadowhunter Academy bind-up was released.

Fast forward a few months and I ended up buying both Lady Midnight and Shadowhunter Academy as Christmas gifts to myself. I waited until the new year to start them because of 2016 goals and whatnot.

Guys! I don’t even need to tell you because you already know, but the wait…omg the wait was frigging torture! Lady Midnight was so amazing and then I had to sit still and ‘patiently’ wait till LoS came out. Trust that I stayed away from those snippets Cassie Clare has been posting these last few weeks. I haven’t even read the first couple of chapters that she released a few days ago. I want to go into this book totally blind…except from what I know from Lady Midnight. I haven’t even read the synopsis.

A few weeks ago I got so pissed at the bookstore (not the people, at the actual bookstore) because ACOWAR wasn’t stocked the day it came out. As a joke, I decided to hop onto the bookstore’s website and lo and behold! There was LoS waiting to be added to my cart. I didn’t though because heaven knows how long delivery will take so I’m going to beg my dad to drive the half hour it will take to get me my precious.

I can’t even begin to express how excited I am. I’m literally putting all other books on hold (ahem, ACOWAR as well) so that I can start LoS the second I get it. I was in tears when I saw that it was after midnight and realised that today is the 23rd of May.

Speaking of, I was wondering what else happens today and in all my excitement for LoS, I totally forgot that today is my brother’s birthday. So uh, happy birthday, bro…but Lord of Shadows!

I’m trying to calm myself down because sleep must still happen but I honestly can’t. My eyes hurt so bad because I’ve been up all day but THE EXCITEMENT IS TOO REAL!

I’m going to leave now before this gets even crazier. The wait has been to d*mn long and I’ve only been waiting 5 months. I can’t.

Thanks for stopping by,
Caron xx

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Source: Gifs taken from Giphy.com

eARC Book Review: Time in a Bottle by Kathleen D. Tresemer 

Time in a Bottle

Goodreads Synopsis

Beth Frye wants what we all want: to be accepted, maybe even cool. But high school’s tough for a music geek.
Things start looking up when she discovers vodka. It gives her cool friends, a gorgeous guy, and the chance to perform in NYC: all her dreams are coming true.
But, as her drinking addiction gets worse, things get complicated. She ends up in the hospital, someone is stalking her, twin brother Teddy’s trying to fix her, and that cop keeps hanging around.
Get some help? No thanks. Beth just wants what she wants, when she wants it!
The book includes helpful resources and discussion questions.


I received this book from the publisher on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Trigger Warnings: Underage drinking, Assault, Rape, Being drugged, Underage Sex, Rehabilitation, Relapses, Near-death experiences, Attempted murder.

**When a book is not categorised as Fantasy that automatically includes the more dangerous and scary stuff…all Trigger Warnings apply.

When I requested this book, I had no idea that it was going to be focused on such heavy topics. Apart from the alcoholism…but that was in the synopsis. I feel like this book was so much more than what we were promised and that it encompassed everything. Nothing was sugar-coated.

Beth and Teddy are twins, brother and sister, and they have a system that they work with. Beth needs help and Teddy’s there, rushing in, ready to save the day. This works, until it doesn’t anymore. Beth enters this spiral that leads her further down a hole and she can’t pull herself back out mainly because she doesn’t realise how deep in she’s fallen.

I’ll admit that at the beginning, I didn’t like Beth. There was no love lost there and I wondered if I should even feel sorry for her. Her attitude was not something that I was a fan of. She was extremely rude and bitchy and didn’t regarded anyone’s feelings in any way, shape or form. She barely cared about herself. This story was told from two sides, Beth and Teddy’s. I liked that we saw how she thought nothing was wrong, and then through Teddy’s eyes, you saw how things were slowly falling apart.

I feel that this book greatly showcased what substance abusers do to their loved ones. Maybe it’s not on purpose, but who’s behind them? Either trying to help or unknowingly making things worse. Something I read a while ago talked about funerals and about how they’re not for the person who died, they’re for the family and people they left behind. To help them cope. To give them some sense of peace. I think it’s similar for the people in this book. What they do, or what happens to them, doesn’t just affect them only.

I was shocked the further I got into this book because as I said, I wasn’t expecting it to be so heavy. Would I have still read it knowing what it entailed? Honestly I don’t know. This is why Trigger Warnings are important. I think they would’ve played a part in my choice.

I’ve had this book sitting in my Kindle App for months and I was reluctant to read it. I forgot why I had requested it and I didn’t see the sense in reading it. I do think that the stuff mentioned in this book is very important and it could help a lot of people out there, so there is a silver lining to all this. Sort of.

I do like the way the author went about this book. Nothing seemed too forced and everything was done in stages. I liked that the book was separated in parts by why of months. It helped with keeping track of the time frame. At the start of each part, the author included a quote that related well to what was going on in the story at the time.

I try to stay away from books like this only because I never know how to feel when I’m done with them. I have to admit that realistic stories of this kind are way too scary for me to frequent.

I did really like the book though. My lower rating is because of the lack of overall warning of what this book contained and the fact that the book was on the shorter side but had chapters that were 2 pages long. That’s a bit of a peeve for me so I wasn’t a fan. Really great style from the author and I think she covered just about everything.

Read: 18 May 2017
Rating: ★★★.5

Publication Date: 19 June 2016
Publisher: Soul Fire PRess
Link to Author’s Goodreads Page: Kathleen D. Tresemer

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