May 2017 Wrap Up aka The Month I Didn’t Read

Who would have thought 31 days could go by so quickly? It only feels like a few days ago when the nip in the air started and the leaves slowly wilted into the warm colours of autumn. It also only feel like yesterday when I told myself I’d read 7 books in May. Or was that April? I can barely keep count.

Out of all the books I told myself I’d read, I read a total of 4 books. I READ 4 BOOKS! What is happening to me? Have I lost my mojo? Has uni sucked the life out of my reading?

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Before I panic, let’s jump right into the 4 books I did read this May, which were a blessing to read.

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo: 5/5

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This has to be one of the best books I’ve read in 2017. Not only was it based in a universe I’ve grown to love, but it’s an intense heist story featuring six characters I want to hug forever. I loved the steampunk vibes and the diversity of characters as well.  Every page was fantastic and I can’t wait to read Crooked Kingdom. My full review for Six of Crows is here.

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon: 4.5/5

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This book as a-freaking-dorable. Dimple and Rishi are Indian-Americans who both attend Insomnia Con and are subtly set up by their parents in an arranged marriage. The results are hilarious and we’re taken on a swoonworthy romance that had me laughing and crying. It’s a treasure of a book. My full review is here.

Heart of Mist by Helen Scheuerer: 5/5

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I was blessed enough to be asked by Helen to read an ARC of her debut novel and I am so glad I did. It is amazing! I am a sucker for fantasy and I feel like I’ve found a new favourite. Heart of Mist is a brilliant YA fantasy featuring multiple character perspectives that take you on a journey across the world. Weaving magic, politics and mystery like a master of her craft, Heart of Mist is a standout debut novel. I can’t wait for the second book!

The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli: 5/5

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This book made my heart hurt with joy. This is one of the cutest contemporary YA novels I’ve read so far. Extremely diverse and geeky, it accurately represents what it’s like to be seventeen and afraid of the world, but also the excitement in growing up and being confident. The romantic elements were so cute and I loved the emphasis on family. My full review is here.

And that’s it for May! My TBR for June is currently consists of:

  • The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson
  • The Secret Science of Magic by Melissa Keil
  • Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde

I do have some more I want to read for Pride Month, but I don’t quite have them yet. Stay tuned on my bookstagram @vintage.book.queen.

What books did you read in May?

Let me know in the comments below!

 

When Dimple Met Rishi // An adorably geeky YA romance

This has to be one of the most adorable books I’ve read this year.

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon feels like sipping sweet iced tea while stretched out in the sun. It is an energetic and lighthearted YA romance as well as an exploration of culture, young adulthood, and identity with warmth and sincerity. Featuring the dual perspectives of two Indian-American teenagers and infused with Hindi culture, Menon portrays exactly what it is like to be a young adult on the edge of the future with questions about your dreams and aspirations. With Insomnia Con as the backdrop of this tale, a competitive summer tech program on app development in San Francisco, when the worlds of Dimple and Rishi collide, the result is nothing short of beautiful.

So let’s get into what I loved about this book.

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a short diary excerpt #1

something short and personal

{spilled tea, fairy floss sunsets, a long steady drive, the swell of the radio sweeping me off my seat • i have a cloud over my head but a gentle hand running through my hair; a trembling kiss presses behind my ear as my breath catches and my stomach sinks • he makes me sway in the wind like a willow tree, holds my heart with fingertips so kind i’m afraid i’ll drop to my knees as the air suddenly becomes too thick • there’s a humming in the air and i follow its vibrations down a crooked path until his voice calls me back – all the way back home}

Six Things About Six of Crows

I have to admit I am a sucker for epic fantasy, especially anything that involves assassins, thieves and characters dark enough to perforate my soul. And here I am, writing this review while holding my mauled heart and saying, “God damn, that was brilliant.”

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo is a quite simply a heist story. Six young criminals are hired to break into the world’s most secure prison and extract a prisoner for a larger than large sum of money. It’s dark, dangerous and filled with plots and schemes that might go wrong. It’s  a well written steampunk fantasy heist tale and I don’t know what took me so long to read it.

So here are six things about Six of Crows – spoiler free!

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The world itself is incredible.

Set in the same universe as the Grisha trilogy (you don’t have to read that series in order to read this one as they are totally separate), the novel explores the gritty Barrel and the lavish Ice Court, slowly forming Ketterdam as we dive into the various cultures Bardugo has created from the Shu to the Suli. It’s not lacklustre by any means; there’s knives, guns, magic, technology mashed together into something that is so attractive. It’s rich with culture and has an grimy vibe as we travel with this crew of misfits.

The characters are extraordinary and dimensional af.

“No mourners. No funerals. Among them, it passed for ‘good luck.”

The 400 page novel balances six characters, all with their own backstories and reasons for being a part of the heist. These characters, the Dregs, have left a hole in my heart because of just how incredible they are. They’re diverse, broken and mismatched and I love the balance they created with each other.

  • Kaz: The ringleader of the Dregs, a cold and calculating mastermind who is so tragically lovable. He’s covers his bets, is mysterious to even his own crew and is capable of incapacitating a person with a cane. Because you know, he has a limp and doesn’t let anyone take advance of him.
  • Inej: She’s the spider, the Wraith, a deadly acrobat who knows everything. She’s fierce in a quiet kind of way and ambitious.
    I also ship her really really hard with Kaz because yolo.
  • Nina: Oh my lord, this woman is my spirit animal. She’s a Grisha, loves food and is sassy af. She’s loyal to a fault, doesn’t like to be in debt to anyone and capable of making men drop to their knees (and not just because of her good looks).
    I would alternatively be shipping Inej with Nina because their relationship is so damn cute.
  • Matthias: He’s kind of like a brick wall with feelings. He’s basically helping these crows break into a place that is sacred to his culture and he’s not liking it. He’s extremely stubborn and doesn’t like to show said feelings. It’s hilarious.
  • Jesper: The comic relief, the dork who loves guns and has a slight gambling addiction.
  • Wylan: This precious baby is adorable as he tries to prove himself to the Dregs. He’s defiant, clever and sometimes forgotten because he hasn’t quite conformed to the crooked personas of his fellow crew members.

“Kaz leaned back. “What’s the easiest way to steal a man’s wallet?”
“Knife to the throat?” asked Inej.
“Gun to the back?” said Jesper.
“Poison in his cup?” suggested Nina.
“You’re all horrible,” said Matthias.”

The use of multiple perspectives allowed for a deeper and more mysterious plot.

Because we’re seeing things from six POVs, not everything will be interpreted the same. Different scenes had one or two characters telling the part and it was brilliant to see how the Big Job has unfolded for the six of them. It also allowed for their backstories to ease into the plot without much introduction; and while it was sometimes too much information at once, I loved that we got to see what made these characters so hard and despicable. While I would have liked more of Kaz’s perspective, but the novel had to balance them all and it worked well.

“The heart is an arrow. It demands aim to land true.”

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The heist itself is incredible and humourous.

I haven’t read a good heist book in a long time, especially one that involved magic. I liked living vicariously through these characters who could pull off such incredible feats and still hold a conversation while sassing each other. The plans and schemes formulated in order to succeed had my eyes glued to the page. I wanted to know everything. How can someone (Kaz, my child) be so clever to come up with such a complex plan and improvise when things go wrong? Ugh, I loved the manipulation, the cons, the gradual world-building as we follow the crew through the Ice Court. It’s a damn thrill.

“I’m a business man,” he’d told her. “No more, no less.”
“You’re a thief, Kaz.”
“Isn’t that what I just said?”

Bardugo’s writing is just so good, I could eat it.

It’s no lie – I enjoyed this series so much more than the Grisha trilogy. There is a depth to her writing that lacked in the her previous work. She’s clever with her words, quick with descriptions that paint a lasting image and has penned some impressive feats by these characters. There’s a richness to her words that I found exciting. The dialogue is also A+.

The book itself is the definition of epic fantasy.

I mean, it’s a heist book set in a Russian-inspired fantasy universe where a crew of thieves and assassins who are all sassy af are about to pull off their biggest stunt for a large enough sum to risk their lives. Why haven’t you read this already?

Rating

 

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Let’s chat!

Have you read Six of Crows? Do you like heist books? Who was your favourite character? Leave me a comment down below and we can discuss!

 

 

 

The Upside of Unrequited // Lots of diversity and a squishy romance

I finished this book at 2am on Tuesday morning with a warm heart and a wet face. I thought about whether it was a good idea to have read this on a night when I had university at 9am.

Turns out I didn’t really care. I have no regrets. The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli was absolutely brilliant.

Let’s talk about Molly Peskin-Suso.

Our main character is Molly, a chubby 17-year-old with a fraternal twin and two mums. She’s never had a boyfriend, never been kissed and has had a long ass list of crushes (26, I should add). When her twin, Cassie, falls in love, Molly finds herself in a situation where her other half is slowly orbiting around someone else and she is feeling alone. As any good sister would, Cassie is determined to hook Molly up with her girlfriend’s best friend, Will; but Molly’s new job at a Pinterest perfect store has her thinking about her geeky coworker, Reid. Molly’s inward struggle between following her sister’s guidance and what she’s feeling in her chest is a painfully accurate representation of relationships, rejection and being seventeen.

The coming-of-age elements within this novel are so realistic.

I liked the way Becky explains Molly’s thought process behind the crushes, capturing the fleeting yet exciting feeling perfectly. I also loved how Molly’s weight didn’t define her story (because why should it?), but it was brought up in fleeting moments when Molly’s insecurity was strong. It resonated with me so much, taking me back to a time in high school when I was worried about not being kissed and my body. Did people not like my body? Was I wrong to like mine? A lot of old memories bubbled up as Molly’s character developed into a more confident and thoughtful individual. Her story was so relatable – from needing to feel rejected, to being confident in your own skin, to feeling confused while everyone is moving on without her. I also liked the representation of anxiety in Molly, especially in regards to medication. There was never a moment when Molly was made to feel inferior because of her condition.

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The diversity is absolutely lovely.

The representation in this is amazing. There are so many queer and POCs and explanations on various sexualities, rounding the story into something unique and lovely. I loved Molly’s two mums, how her relationship with them was positive and open, the unconventional family dynamics that totally worked, and the bonds between the family members (including cousins and aunts). The relationships within the novel are realistic, hilarious and beautiful, especially Molly and Cassie’s sisterhood as it explores the bittersweet process of growing apart and losing that sibling closeness. I also loved the fact Molly is Jewish (because since when have I read a book with a Jewish protagonist?).

The writing is brilliant!

I adore the dialogue between the characters. It is so realistic and relatable. I also couldn’t take my eyes off the page. I devoured this book so easily because of the excellent writing.

The romances are so sweet and cute, I couldn’t handle it.

Cassie and Mina: Too cute that I was blushing. I loved how easily they complemented each other.

Molly and Reid: Um, they bond over cookie dough and Cadbury Mini Eggs. How is that not true love? I also liked their honesty with each other, and the subtle drops of adorable geeky things.

Nadine and Patty: Molly and Cassie’s mums have such a brilliant relationship. I loved their compassion, honesty and love for compound swear words.

Overall Thoughts

This is the cutest contemporary YA novel I’ve read so far. Extremely diverse and geeky, it accurately represents what it’s like to be seventeen and afraid of the world, but also the excitement in growing up and being confident. The romantic elements were so cute and I loved the emphasis on family.

Rating: 5/5!

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Series Review: The Grisha Trilogy // Russian mythology and a suave villain

“What is infinite? The universe and the greed of men.”

Hello, bookworms! Today I’ll be reviewing the Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo. This isn’t something I do quite often because I usually like to review books one by one; however, I did read the trilogy as a buddy read with a dear friend on bookstagram, and now I’m inclined to do a review on the series as a whole.

So here we go.

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March Wrap Up + April TBR

March has been a hectic month for me with university, editing and bookstagram. I managed to crack 900 followers, I finished editing Taylor‘s novel, and I’m already drowning in assignments. However I did manage to squeeze in some books to tide me over and keep me sane. I did a buddy reading of Gemina with some lovely people on bookstagram such as Beth, who has been an absolute gem to me. I also finally finished the Grisha trilogy with Shelby and she is one of the sweetest people you’ll ever meet.

So, without further ado and ramblings from moi, here is my March wrap up with their respective reaction gifs that sum up how I felt about them.

March Wrap Up

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Book Review: Gemina // Wormholes, space sass and plot twists

Here it is, the sequel to Illuminae – the book that had me dusted and broken into a million stars.

Holy heck, what did I just read?

Hands down this is the perfect sequel, and it was just as good as Illuminae. Kristoff and Kaufman have outdone themselves with their masterful words and fantastic story. It’s 2575, and they delivered everything I could have asked for: a rapid-fire thrilling adventure featuring the perfect amount of sass, wormholes, a lethal BeiTech team, ingenuity and alien-esque creatures that’ll haunt your dreams. This is a page turner, a masterpiece of young adult science fiction.

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Book Review: Fury by Charlotte McConaghy

This is a spoiler free review!

I feel like I haven’t reviewed enough books yet so here we are with this rather underrated dystopian gem by Charlotte McConaghy.

Review

This is that perfect mix of Divergent and Maze Runner with the good qualities of a dystopian novel without the bland cynical parts.

Fury follows the story of 18-year-old Josephine Luquet, or Josie as you’ll get to know her as, who has a horrible experience on the blood moon every year where she wakes up covered in blood and naked without a clue on what has happened.

The society in which she lives has purged anger by introducing the Cure, an immunisation manadated by the government. Those who do not take it are subject to become Furies and those that do become ‘drones’. She has not responded to the Cure like the others, and that makes her dangerous.

Then along comes Luke, a drone who is determined to help Josie figure out what is happening and save her before the next blood moon, and before the government finds out she has not been Cured.

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Book Review: The Star Touched Queen // Indian mythology and a whirlwind love

On the blog today is a review for this rather lovely book by Roshani Chokshi. Set in a luxurious kingdom lush with Indian mythology, elegant writing and a mystery, The Star Touched Queen is, without a doubt, a beautiful book. It is a recent diverse read in my collection and I was so thrilled to have it in my hands. The story follows Maya of Bharata who is whisked away by the mysterious Amar, made Queen of an unknown realm and starts to uncover secrets within the palace.

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