[Spoilery Discussion] Me Before You by Jojo Moyes


(I started writing this post as a review, then realised a discussion is a more suitable format for what I want to say. So this is a non-star, spoiler-filled discussion!)

The hype of Me Before You sailed by me almost entirely. I knew that it's a tearjerker, I vaguely knew the ending, and the movie came out (from the trailer, Emilia Clarke looked adorable), and there was some controversy around it. I didn't pay any attention to it all until last summer, when I spotted a copy in the library. I finished it within six hours, and then I was torn.

[Rewind] February - March 2017



Two is the magic number for this post. This rewind is a two-in-one for two reasons: I never got around to recapping February, and I only made two posts in March. I only have one excuse for why I've been slack with blogging though, and it's the same old one. Instead of getting into it now though, let's talk books, 'cause I've rather missed doing that!

New to My Shelves

bookstagram: pavedwithbookss
February was my birthday month, so I let loose at the bookshop. There was a sale, in which I bought Hidden Figures and Jasper Jones. I'm not usually a non-fiction reader, but loved Hidden Figures as a movie, so I wanted to read about the women who inspired it. As for Jasper Jones, it was hailed as Australia's To Kill a Mockingbird, which is an intriguing comparison.

I also bought The Hate U Give as it was The YA Room's Book of the Month for March. (I've posted my review of THUG here).  

Then, I received a $50 gift card for my birthday (my friends know me well), so I spent that on Olmec Obituary, Sorcerer to the Crown, and Six of Crows. I adore cosy mysteries, and Olmec Obituary is one that involves a librarian/archeologist and a very, very old case, all of which sounded pretty awesome to me. As for Sorcerer to the Crown and Six of Crows, I've heard so much praise for both I feel I should've read them last year. Here's hoping they live up to the hype!

Reviews

↠ [ARC] Ida by Alison Evans is a fascinating sci-fi story about finding yourself (almost literally) with a lot of diversity included.
↠ [ARC] I don't read enough poetry to make comparisons, but I enjoyed the princess saves herself in this one by amanda lovelace.
↠ Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi is beautifully written, but the plot got a little lost at times.

Other Things on the Blog

↠ I have a brilliant new header!
↠ I discussed not having written many negative reviews, why, and whether this impacted my reliability as a blogger.
↠ I talked about my currently reading list.

Challenges Progress

  • Goodreads challenge: 11/30 books
  • Discussion challenge: 3/24 discussion posts
  • ReadDiverse2017 challenge: 4 books
  • #RockMyTBR challenge:  0 books (really need to step up my game in this one).
  • Backlist Books challenge: 4 books

Around the Blogosphere

↠ CW @ Read, Think, Ponder discussed characters with difficult names.
↠ Cristina @ Girl in the Pages talked about how she incorporates Feedly into her blogging routine.
↠ Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction discussed watching bloggers come and go.
↠ Puput @ Sparkling Letters had her first blogoversary and put up another installment of Diversity Corner.
↠ Krysta @ Pages Unbound wondered if Beauty and the Beast is a problematic relationship.
↠ Tasya @ The Literary Huntress talked about the women who shaped Indonesian history.

In Life

Let's just say that this semester has been all-consuming for me, and I've barely been able to do anything creative. That said, I managed to carve time to see Adele live in concert! Believe me, she's even better in person than on her records.

In Store for Next Month

My only goal for this blog next month is to post more than twice. It's a low bar, but I'd be pleased if I achieve it!

It's been ages since we talk, so how have you been??
What's the best book you've read recently?
Link me to your favourite post written in the last month or so, so I can catch up!

 

[Review] The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas



I gravitate towards Fantasy more than I do to Contemporary, because reality can be pretty screwed-up and I'm often tempted to run away from it. But some things are too important to turn a blind eye to. That was the mindset I went into The Hate U Give with. I wasn't looking for entertainment; I was looking for truth. Someone's truth, at least. That's exactly what I got.

[Book Talk] What Makes a Bookish Romance Ship-worthy?



It's been a while since my heart has been set aflutter by a bookish romantic pairing. The most recent one that I can think of is Cress and Thorne's scenes in The Lunar Chronicles, and that was well at the beginning of last year! It's not as if I haven't read any good novels with romantic pairings in it; they just haven't managed to turn me into a shipper.

It may simply be that I've gotten more cynical over the years (🖤), but it has made me think about what has me shipping fictional couples together. I came up with the following:

1. Knowing Each Half of the Ship as Individuals

Romance is about the relationship between two people, and if I don't care about those people, I wouldn't be invested in their relationship. Also, as much as I love happily ever after, I enjoy a story more where the characters have lives and goals outside of their romantic relationship. For this reason, I'm all for slow burn romance. Give me character growth, together and apart; give me characters who actually get to know each other first; and eventually, give me that "Oh" moment where the gears shift and they realise they're right for each other all along. 😍

2. They're Good for Each Other

Obviously, I'm not going to ship an abusive relationship. Apart from that, I find that lately I'm put off by love interests who repeatedly declare that they're no good for the other character and that they shouldn't be together. Sometimes, they're right. (A case that comes to mind is Christian Grey). I'm all for conflict and obstacles, but at the end of the day, I want the characters to raise each other up and bring out the best in each other.

3. Chemistry

This is a hard one to talk about, because I haven't been able to put my finger on what makes up chemistry. Sometimes sparks just jump off the page whenever two characters are in a scene together, and that's it! I think maybe a huge part of it is dialogue, but even the wittiest dialogue would come up to nothing if the characters don't work together. Maybe it's the friction and collaboration of the two personalities? What do you think makes for chemistry?



Let's talk!
What makes you a shipper? 
What was the last bookish romance that made you swoon?
Shoot me some romance recommendations!


[The List] Trying (and Failing) not to Multi-task



The List is a feature where I hold myself accountable regarding my TBR. This (hopefully) stops me from picking up new books despite my a pile of unread books.

With the new semester kicking off, I haven't been reading much. 😩 I was also trying to stick to one (big) book, but I got bored, so...

The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton

The Story: It is 1866, and Walter Moody has come to make his fortune upon the New Zealand goldfields. On arrival, he stumbles across a tense gathering of twelve local men, who have met in secret to discuss a series of unsolved crimes. A wealthy man has vanished, a whore has tried to end her life, and an enormous fortune has been discovered in the home of a luckless drunk. Moody is soon drawn into the mystery: a network of fates and fortunes that is as complex and exquisitely patterned as the night sky.

Why I'm Reading It: My friend and I had a little book swap, and she lend me this one. It turned out to be a brick of a book! It's much more dense than what I probably like, but I'm intrigued by its use of multiple point of views. It's a slog at times, but I've gotten halfway through the book so I'm not giving up now!

Does My Head Look Big in This? by Randa Abdel-Fattah

The Story: Sixteen-year-old Amal makes the decision to start wearing the hijab full- time and everyone has a reaction. Her parents, her teachers, her friends, people on the street. But she stands by her decision to embrace her faith and all that it is, even if it does make her a little different from everyone else. Can she handle the taunts of "towel head," the prejudice of her classmates, and still attract the cutest boy in school?

Why I'm Reading It: I've heard about this book for a while, and I couldn't resist when I saw it in the library of the school I'm interning at. So far, it's interesting but also heavy-handed at times. 

The Romance Reader's Guide to Life by Sharon Pywell

The Story: Neave and Lilly Terhune couldn’t be more different. Lilly is a beauty who runs through men like water. Neave, having been told at an early age by their mother that she will not be able to get by on her looks, always has her head in a book. During WWII, when the men are gone, both sisters start working. But when the servicemen return and take back their jobs, Neave and Lilly are left with few options besides marriage. But they have other ideas. But just as their business is truly taking off, Lilly disappears and Neave must figure out what happened. Luckily, she has Lilly’s assistance helping from above, even if she doesn’t know it quite yet.

Why I'm Reading It: I saw it on NetGalley, and the synopsis piqued my interest. I'm not fully loving it at the moment, but I'm hoping it just gets better from here.

What are you reading, or are on your TBR right now?

[Announcement] New Header!


Hello friends! Last week, I took a short break from blogging to spend some much-needed quality time with my family. I thought it would be perfect to come back with this update. I have a new header!!

My wonderful and talented friend, Elise, created the wonderful image above. I've dreamed about this picture ever since I started the blog, and she's actually brought it to life. 💜You'll see it on my Twitter as well, and if you like, you can grab my button from the sidebar!

You should check out Elise's art in her Etsy shop! She creates watercolour painting of awesome babes of pop culture. You should also follow her on Instagram and see what project she's working on next!

I'm so psyched about this update, and I hope you love it too!

[Review] The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi


The Star-Touched Queen is a beautifully-written Hades and Persephone-style story about Maya, a princess born under a horoscope of death and destruction, who is set on a path to discover her strength and who she really is. Chokshi writes gorgeous prose, and the worlds Maya live in are enchanting. At times, however, the plot gets a little lost amidst the pretty. 

Given my lack of familiarity with either the Hades and Persephone or the Indian mythology, I was reading this story with entirely fresh eyes. I read so much fantasy that sometimes elements of the world feel worn, so it was a lot of fun to have this setting where most of the elements - the magical creatures and themes - are unfamiliar. My favourite was the flesh-eating horse demon, Kamala, and the elephant who spun clouds. And of course, The Night Bazaar.

I didn't know what to think at first about Amar. He seems like an absolute dream - a guy who promises to share his kingdom with you in a relationship that is completely equal. At the same time, he is unable to tell Maya pretty much anything about himself, or why he seems to have loved her even before they met. To be honest, by the end I wasn't fully swept up by the romance, but for me the story is less about their love anyway and more about Maya's journey to finding her place and self.

Chokshi's writing is stunning. Just look at this:

What I wanted was a connection, a shared heartbeat that kept rhythm across oceans and worlds. Not some alliance cobbled out of war. I didn’t want the prince from the folktales or some milk-skinned, honey-eyed youth who said his greetings and proclaimed his love in the same breath. I wanted a love thick with time, as inscrutable as if a lathe had carved it from night and as familiar as the marrow in my bones. 
She has a way with similes and metaphors, and her style really suits the genre. At times, however, I got sidetracked by the poetry of her writing that I lost the thread of the story. A couple of times, I had to backtrack to make sure I hadn't just missed an explanation about something. All in all, though, The Star-Touched Queen was an enjoyable debut that would suit fans of fantasy and retellings of mythology. I look forward to reading more from Roshani Chokshi!



Reading this book contributes to the following challenges:
❥ Goodreads Challenge
 #ReadDiverse2017
 #DiverseReads2017

Title: The Star-Touched Queen (The Star-Touched Queen #1) ❙ Author: Roshani Chokshi ❙ Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin ❙ Source: Borrowed ❙ Release Date: 26 April 2016

"Maya is cursed. With a horoscope that promises a marriage of death and destruction, she has earned only the scorn and fear of her father’s kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her whole world is torn apart when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. Soon Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Neither roles are what she expected: As Akaran’s queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar’s wife, she finds something else entirely: Compassion. Protection. Desire…

But Akaran has its own secrets—thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Soon, Maya suspects her life is in danger. Yet who, besides her husband, can she trust? With the fate of the human and Otherworldly realms hanging in the balance, Maya must unravel an ancient mystery that spans reincarnated lives to save those she loves the most…including herself."