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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eARC Book Review: Free by Susanne Valenti

Free: Freedom comes at a price... (Cage of Lies Book 5)Goodreads Synopsis

Alone and surrounded by the enemy, Maya doesn’t know which way to turn. In a prison built of corruption and blind faith, does the truth even stand a chance? All paths lead to this and finding a way through will be the toughest test yet. The might of the city stands against her and she must remain defiant in the face of it. Presented with challenges she never thought possible and changes she couldn’t have imagined, she will need to be stronger than ever before. The fight of her life is coming to an end but will she survive to see her dreams become reality?


I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

When I first started this book I had forgotten so much from the previous books because the wait was definitely a long one but I didn’t need to worry because with each chapter I read, the memories started coming back.

The gang is now in The City and they’re working with their contacts within the wall to get the word out that the Outside isn’t as dangerous as they were led to believe. New characters are introduced and you’d think that that’d be weird and hard to get used to so late in the game but Valenti made them blend in so easily it was as if they’d always been around. One of the people introduced is Cutter. He’s a scary dude and you’d actually be smart to stay out of his way but I actually liked his character a lot. I like what he stood for. Family is everything to this guy and he protects his own.

Naturally there were a few…setbacks in the story that of course was supposed to help the plot but I don’t think that all of them made complete sense. I feel that the beginning of the book dragged mainly because it was mostly from Maya’s POV and I was starting to get a bit annoyed with her. I can’t place my finger on what exactly irked me about her but I didn’t mind her at all when she was surrounded by others.

I certainly hope that there’s another book coming because that ending left quite an opening. There’s basically a bridge between the Outside and The City so I hope the new ‘alliance’ between the two is looked at more closely. Certain things in this book did feel a bit rushed and I felt that too much time was spent on the planning and not enough on the action and that played a part in things going haywire.

There have been further developments in both the characters and the story which is always a good thing to see and I’m definitely glad that Susanne one again did not disappoint in that department. Out of all the books in this series, this doesn’t come close to how I feel about Broken and is not my favourite but I did like it a lot.. I can’t wait to see what new ideas Susanne can produce for us.

Read: 8 October 2017
Rating: ★★★.5

Publication Date: 16 July 2017
Link to Author’s Goodreads Page: Susanne Valenti

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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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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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eARC Book Review: Then Comes Love by Lindsay Detwiler

Then Comes Love (Then Comes Love, #1)

Goodreads Synopsis

Three generations of women,
Three second loves,
All with a dose of chaos mixed in.

Sometimes in life, changes can be good…

After losing her husband, her five cats, and her home, Charlotte Noel hates feeling dependent. As Charlotte tries to find her identity in this new stage of life, she comes to realize that drama never ends, dance aerobics can be a war zone, and love is always a possibility.

You never know when a midlife crisis is going to strike…

Charlotte’s daughter, Annie, is going through struggles of her own. Recently divorced, she is feeling frumpy and worn-out. Run ragged, Annie mourns her youth and wonders where her life is headed, all while hoping she can help her daughter Amelia get it together.

Settling down can be overrated, especially when you’re falling for a rock star look-alike…

Amelia is the wild child of the family. Working three jobs, because she just hasn’t figured out what she wants in life, she realizes happiness isn’t always settling down with a steady, dependable man; sometimes it’s about following your true passion and living on the edge.

No matter what age you are, life and love can be crazy…


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

By the title alone I wanted to steer clear of this book because I could sense what was coming. I’m rarely in the mood for a romance novel and I’d forgotten why I’d requested this book in the first place. I’m glad I did though because this is so much more than a mere romance novel.

We are introduced to three generations of women: Charlotte, the eighty-one year old discovering that just because she’s old, it doesn’t mean that her life has to be over. Annie, a fifty year old who has to reinvent herself after the love of her life walks out on her. And of course, Amelia, the thirty-two year old who’s eccentric and devil-may-care behaviour is trying to lead her to the path of fulfilment but the idea of ‘safety’ leads her in a different direction.

First thing’s first, this book did not read like a romance novel. It was more humour than anything else. I found myself laughing only a few pages in and by then I was pretty sure that I was going to enjoy this book. And I did.

Charlotte’s character was possibly my favourite out of the three women. I have no idea what it feels like to be eighty but this woman did not read like an eighty year old. I kept having to remind myself of her age because the story ran away with me. I think that was a bit different though and I liked that about the book. By doing that, making the characters seem younger, she opened up the book to all ages.

I feel like the main message in this book was: stop running. These characters were so scared to face the music that they kept running away but once they stopped and took a moment to take everything in, new paths opened up for them.

“Sometimes love changed everything. Sometimes love came when you least expected it. Sometimes you gave up on life, gave up on finding out who you were supposed to be.

And then, when you’d forgotten what it felt like, when you’d dismissed the ideal entirely… then, well… then came love.”

Lindsay Detwiler’s writing was superb and extremely fast paced. I sat myself down and finished the book in no time. She really has a way with pulling you into the story and holding your attention up till the very end.

I’m not saying that this book opened up the way for romance novels for me but I’ll definitely be reading more of this author’s work. That was a nice break from the ‘serious’ books I’ve been reading. If you’re looking for a light read that will leave you feeling warm and fuzzy in the end, this is what you need.

Read: 11 May 2017
Rating: ★★★★

Publication Date: 18 March 2016
Publisher: Hot Tree Publishing
Link to Author’s Goodreads Page: Lindsay Detwiler

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