Book Fangirling Blog Award

I’ve been nominated by Abdeah from Under the Midnight Sky for the Book Fangirling Blog Award! Thank you so much for the nomination Abdeah! I enjoy spending time reading your posts, and it is always lovely to come by book bloggers from my home town – Cape Town.

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The Rules:

  • Create a post to accept your award.
  • Add the blog award button into your post and put it on the side of your blog as a widget. Visit fangirling for the award button.
  • Answer the questions I have below.
  • Nominate between 5-10 book bloggers who you think also deserve this award.
  • Come up with your own 5 questions for your nominees.

WHAT BOOK DID EVERYONE LIKE AND YOU HATED?

The Fault in our Stars by John Green

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I know, I know, this is a firm favourite of so many readers around the world, but I was so disappointed by it. I actually started reading this book before the movie came out and it became all the rage; but I never finished it. Then when I read the write up on the movie, it sounded so familiar, and when I finally realised why it was so familiar I struggled to understand why it was such a big hit. I felt that John Green’s characters were unrealistic and pretentious, so I could not connect with them and it held me back from really enjoying it.

BOOK/S THAT PUT YOU IN A RIDICULOUS READING SLUMP?

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

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The Book Thief is one of my all time favourite books, ever! I adored the writing style, the characters, the setting, the plot – pretty much everything that there is to love about a book, I loved about this one. But after reading it, I fell into a massive reading slump because every other book after seemed meaningless. It took me a while to get over the heartbreak and let it all sink in.

NAME A BOOK YOU WISH MORE PEOPLE KNEW ABOUT

Someone Knows My Name aka The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill

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I wrote a review about this book which you can read here. This book actually took me out of the reading slump which I was left with after reading The Book Thief.

NAME A BOOK/S YOU WISH TURNED INTO A MOVIE

Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult

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I am sure many bookworms will agree with me when I say that I am not a fan of books being made into movies. A movie takes away so much from a good book, especially if you haven’t read it. But for the sake of this challenge, I will say that I wouldn’t mind Jodi Picoult’s masterpiece, Leaving Time, being made into a movie. It contains everything that in my opinion makes a terrific blockbuster.

FAVORITE BOOKTUBER/S

Blue Eyed Biblio

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Unfortunately I don’t have much time to watch YouTube videos, but I have watched some by Blue Eyed Biblio and really enjoyed it. She is so cute, and her book collection is something from out of this world!

I hereby nominate these fellow book bloggers to completed this challenge:
Poppie Tee
Barefoot Meds
Books and Messy Buns
Page by Paige
Twins Turning Pages
And anyone else who would like to complete it too!

And the questions are:
1. What book did everyone like and you hated?
2. A book that put you in a ridiculous reading slump
3. Name a book you wish more people knew about
4. A book whose movie you liked more
5. Your favourite booktuber

I really enjoyed completing this challenge, hope you enjoyed reading it!

– Nihaad

Dewey’s 24 Hour Read-a-thon

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Hey guys!

This is just a little post to let you know about the read-a-thon I plan on participating in on Saturday, 17 October. I only came across it a couple of minutes ago so I do apologize for this rather rushed post.

A 24 hour read-a-thon is a reading challenge where everyone participates at the same time. For 24 hours, people from around the world read books, and post it on their blogs and various social media platforms; as well as visit other participants’ virtual online homes in order to encourage and motivate one another to read.

I have never participated in a read-a-thon before, so I am extremely excited to take part in this challenge. I don’t want to commit to a full 24 hours, but I will do my best to cram in as much reading and blogging as I can considering that a Saturday is after-all my day to get house chores done that I unfortunately neglect during the week.

Please check out Dewey’s 24 Hour Read-a-thon for more information, or better yet, sign up and join me in this challenge. This is a great way to get some reading done to boost your Goodreads reading challenge if you have fallen behind like I have.

If you would like to follow me as I take part in this challenge, you will find me on these social media platforms:

Instagram : The Little Blog of STUFF

Twitter :  NihaadG

Facebook : The Little Blog of STUFF

Goodreads : Nihaad

To find out what time it begins in your part of the world follow this link. For the Capetonians, it starts at 14:00 and ends at 13:55 on Sunday afternoon.

Until then, have a great Friday!

P.S. Jumuaa and Muharram Mubarak to all Muslim readers.

– Nihaad

September Reads

I know, I know, September is long gone and believe me when I say it could not have been over sooner. But before I can send September officially packing and embrace the new month, I have to share my thoughts on the books I have read during the month that was supposed to bring Spring to Cape Town (FYI it has failed miserably in that department too)…

You guys, I am proud of myself! Even with all the stuff that went on, I still managed to do some solid reading – an improvement from the amount of books I read last month!

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K Rowling

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I think Harry Potter has released me from the crappy reading slump I’ve been in this year. I am sure there is no need to explain the plot of this book so I will just say that I really enjoyed it, which is no surprise I know. I still feel like it was written as more of a children’s book so I can see why I never took to the first two books when I started reading it years ago.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban J.K Rowling

Now THIS book was awesome!! I think the story really picked up a whole different dimension in this one. I got so many answers for all the unanswered questions I had after watching the movie. Sirius Black and Professor Lupin are two of my favourite characters from the movies, so when I started this book I had high hopes. I am so pleased to say that my expectations were met and exceeded!

The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K Rowling

I still cannot get over the fact that I got this book for a measly R40! I mean where have you ever? This little book is such a special edition to my bookshelf. In The Deathly Hallows, Dumbledore leaves The Tales of Beedle the Bard to Hermoine, and it contains fables which I imagine witches reading to their little ones as bed times stories.

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

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I wrote a short review on this book here. I breezed through this story and I immediately fell in love with Patrick Ness’s style of writing.

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

IMG_20150912_191821 I wrote an in depth review here which explains exactly how I felt about this book. I feel that everyone needs to read this story as it explains a part of history that I don’t think many people are aware of. If you like historical fiction and have not yet read this then please remedy that as soon as possible, believe me, you will not be disappointed!

My Life Next Door Huntley Fitzpatrick

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So, I haven’t been reading much romances and I was in the mood to read something from this genre. I have heard people go on and on about this book on social media, and because I had it sitting in my “currently reading” pile on Goodreads for about a year, I thought it would be good to finish it once and for all. Let me first say that I enjoyed the plot, the writing style was good and I found the characters to be entertaining too. BUT, I still felt let down after I finished the story. I know that after reading all the amazing reviews, I had high hopes for this one and I hate that I always fall into that trap since I have had so many of these experiences! I would recommend this book to someone who hasn’t read much romance novels.

Burying Water by K.A.Tucker

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I enjoy K.A. Tucker’s writing technique. She also manages to surprise me each time I read something written by her, because she always adds that extra bit of something to her plots. The story of Jesse and Alex was unlike anything I have read before. The mixture of suspense, romance and action was a wonderful combination that held my interest throughout the duration of the book – something that I haven’t experienced in a while with romances.

Chasing River by K.A.Tucker

IMG_20151004_083214 Luke and River’s story was also one that I found hard to put down. Normally an author builds up a character in the previous book so that you want to know more about him/her. But I never felt that way about Luke. He was not a character I thought I’d enjoy reading about because he was unbelievably materialistic and arrogant – not qualities I particularly enjoy in a hero. Despite this, he pleasantly surprised me. I wouldn’t say this is the best I have read by K.A. Tucker, but it is good enough for me to recommend it to anyone looking for something with a little bit of action.

Fair Game by Monica Murphy

I think the only reason I completed this book was because it would have bugged me to have yet another story left unfinished. Still, I felt like I completely wasted my time with this one – it was mind numbingly (is that even a word) predictable. My general reaction to this was:

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I am currently reading Cress by Marissa Meyer, which I am enjoying so far. You can follow me on Instagram, if you would like to keep up with my bibliophilic tendencies, since I regularly post my thoughts on what I am currently reading. And if there are any books you thought were good, then please drop a comment below, I am always looking for recommendations!

– Nihaad

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

IMG_20150905_121537I am a huge fan of historical fiction. I think it all started in high school when we read Anne Frank and I could not fathom that people had those experiences in the same world I live in today. I especially cannot believe that disturbingly similar events are happening in this world today – as I write this!! Historical fiction tells stories that are most of the time based on real life experiences; and that alone has the power to make one see the world from a whole new perspective.

When I completed Between Shades of Gray I was speechless. Even more so after reading the author’s note and learning about Stalin and the horrendous crimes that were committed under his dictatorship. For a while I was concerned about my memory because I could not remember ever being taught about this in school. I vividly recall the lessons about Hitler’s Holocaust; but I don’t remember ever learning about the deportation of citizens from Lithuania, Estonia, and Latvia during World War II. I only took history up until grade 9 but still, it seems like a significant part of world events that has been over looked. Then I saw that so many others are wondering the same thing – why was this traumatic, vitally important part of history being left out of the school syllabus? Especially considering that it is so closely linked to Nazi Germany.

Lina is just like any other fifteen-year-old Lithuanian girl in 1941. She paints, she draws, she gets crushes on boys. Until one night when Soviet officers barge into her home, tearing her family from the comfortable life they’ve known. Separated from her father, forced onto a crowded and dirty train car, Lina, her mother, and her young brother slowly make their way north, crossing the Arctic Circle, to a work camp in the coldest reaches of Siberia. Here they are forced, under Stalin’s orders, to dig for beets and fight for their lives under the cruelest of conditions.

Lina finds solace in her art, meticulously–and at great risk–documenting events by drawing, hoping these messages will make their way to her father’s prison camp to let him know they are still alive. It is a long and harrowing journey, spanning years and covering 6,500 miles, but it is through incredible strength, love, and hope that Lina ultimately survives.Between Shades of Gray is a novel that will steal your breath and capture your heart.

Between Shades of Gray was an extremely compelling read – one that I will be reading for years to come. The way Ruta Sepetys captures the unimaginable circumstances these people were forced to endure, chilled me to the bone. Yet, this story was so heart warming because you read about people who had this hope and faith in the world despite the life they were trying surviving. Throughout the book there was this contrast of good, and pure evil that made me so angry. I was angry about the cruelty of the world, I was angry that one person’s life meant so little to another and I was angered by the audacity of some to even think that they were better than someone else – let alone treat another human life as if it meant nothing. I think most of all, I was gutted when I realised that so many more of these stories would never be told because the world do not even know that they exist in the first place.

But, Ruta Sepetys told this story in such a way that you are left feeling at peace. You are left feeling determined and strong to dare hope that better days will greet you in the end. Through all the terror and heartache, you cannot help but have hope in humanity. And this is why I was left utterly speechless – I find it so hard to explain. And I do not think I should, because every person needs to pick up this book and read it. Read it for all those people who were taken from this world without a chance to tell their story.

– Nihaad

Have you learned about these historical events during school? What other historical fiction books would you recommend I read? Please leave a comment, I am really eager to know!

10 Book Challenge

IMG_20150815_132817I was tagged by Ali Caitrin to do a 10 favourite book challenge; and I have been putting it off for so long because I could not for the life of me complete it! This was probably the hardest challenge for me to do because naming 10 (only ten!!!) favourite books is unheard of!! Never-the-less, I think I came up with my list that for now, stays true until I read something else life changing…

1) The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

I read The Book Thief a few years ago, and it took me a while to read anything else after. This book is probably the most beautifully written book I have ever read, filled with so much detail which makes it impossible not to leave you in awe of Markus Zusak. A story of love and friendship found in the most unlikeliest of places; a story that fills you up, completely drains you and then fills you up once more. A must read for EVERYONE!

“I wanted to tell the book thief many things, about beauty and brutality. But what could I tell her about those things that she didn’t already know? I wanted to explain that I am constantly overestimating and underestimating the human race-that rarely do I ever simply estimate it. I wanted to ask her how the same thing could be so ugly and so glorious, and its words and stories so damning and brilliant.”

“A snowball in the face is surely the perfect beginning to a lasting friendship.”

“It kills me sometimes, how people die.”

“A small fact:
You are going to die….does this worry you?”

2) Someone Knows my Name by Lawrence Hill

Like I said, when I completed The Book Thief it took me a long time to get back into reading anything else. The reason for this was that I needed a book as deep and meaningful as the one I’ve come to find in Markus Zusak’s masterpiece. I found this between the pages of Someone Knows My Name – another book from the historical fiction genre which I have come to love – although this one is set during the time of slavery.

Someone Knows My Name, also titled The Book of Negroes, follows the life of Aminata Diallo. A woman who was abducted from Africa as a child and enslaved in South Carolina. This is a tale about the horrors of a part of world history that should never be forgotten, a tale about one woman’s life experience during some of the darkest times known to humankind. A story about perseverance, and patients to never give up hope for freedom – a tale of one woman’s dream to come home.

This book will completely change the way you see the world you live in today. It will open your eyes and expose you to some harsh realities that you may not want to face. I don’t know why schools still force students to read Shakespeare when books like these are out there!  

 ‘“You must learn to respect,” Papa said.

But I do not respect her,” I said.

Papa paused for a moment, and patted my leg. “Then you must learn to hide your disrespect.”’

“To gaze into another persons face is to do two things: to recognise their humanity and to assert your own.”

“I remember wondering, within a year or two of taking my first steps, why only men sat to drink tea and converse, and why women were always busy. I reasoned that men were weak and needed rest.”

“Some say that I was once uncommonly beautiful, but I wouldn’t wish beauty on any woman who has not her own freedom, and who chooses not the hands that claim her.”

“She asked why I was so black. I asked why she was so white. She said she was born that way. Same here, I replied.”

3) Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult

I wrote a little review about this book here, explaining why I loved it so much. Leaving time could possibly be my favourite Jodi Picoult book – it was beautifully told, contained realistic, well researched information which I truly appreciated, and completely blindsided me with a gut wrenching twist of events. I thoroughly enjoyed this book!

4) My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult

Up until I read Leaving Time, My Sister’s Keeper held the spot of my favourite Jodi Picoult book for years! I read it in high school and I still remember how I felt when I got to that point in the book. That point I think I’ve come to expect now from Picoult, yet she some how manages to flaw me every single time I reach the ending to one of her stories! My Sister’s Keeper was also a very well researched, insightful book which the movie did absolute no justice to in my opinion.

5) The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

Another book I read in high school that stuck with me over the years because of the beautiful way that it was written. This story tugged at my heart strings until it finally ripped my heart right out my chest, and shattered it into a million tiny pieces. I think you can see why it’s spot has been reserved on this list for so long.

6) Harry Potter by JK Rowling

My growing lil' collection

My growing lil’ collection

I know I only started reading Harry Potter now, but let me just grab my pile of JK Rowling books and jump front row onto the band wagon! I completely understand  why people love these books so much! I only started book three now, but it is definitely safe to say that I am a huge Harry Potter nerd ! I have always loved the movies, but I have to say that even though I thought the movies were perfect, the books just has so much more detail that makes the whole story even more special!

7) Falling into You by Jasinda Wilder

I wrote a review on this book here if you would like to read it. Falling into you is one of my favourite romance books. There was just something about the hero, Colt, that I loved reading about.

8) Charade by Nyrae Dawn

In my opinion this book was far better than To all the boys I’ve loved before by Jenny Han. I read it a few years ago and still scan over my favourite parts whenever I am between books.

9) Any Roald Dahl books

I grew up reading Roald Dahl books – James and the Giant Peach, The Twits, The Witches, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Esio Trot and many more. It all started when I read his children’s poetry – a hilarious retelling of the classical tales – which I discovered in the library. I loved his writing immediately, and just had to read more of his work. My Mum got some of his books which I practically inhaled, and ever since I have loved everything he wrote.

10) A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

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I completed this book last night and completely fell in love with Patrick Ness’s writing! Conor’s story and struggles broke my heart, but also gave me that sense that everything was going to be okay. This book told a tale of strength and courage and what it means to be a simple, honest living, human. It is a book that I will continue reading for many years to come.

This was a really hard albeit fun, challenge to complete! I hereby nominated these fellow bookworms to name their 10 favourite books:
Twins Turning Pages
Barefoot Meds
Surviving the Madness
Poppie Tee

If you accept, I am really looking forward to reading it!

– Nihaad

I’ll Give you the sun by Jandy Nelson

IMG_20150822_122257I’ll Give You the Sun was a beautiful book that I felt deserved a review all on it’s own. A story filled with so much heartbreak and pain that you would come out on the other side wondering how it is possible to still feel whole…

I’ll Give You the Sun takes place over a period of three years; following the events that occur in the teenage lives of twins, Noah and Jude. The book is written from the twins’ perspectives, and it is told from two different points in their lives. Noah tells his story from the age of 13, while Jude tells her side of things from the age of 16 – the present – and throughout the book, one gets the sense that something happened between the two which caused them to drift apart.

This book was so brilliantly crafted, that it brought to life every feeling and emotion written on the page. The way the characters expressed themselves through art spilt over in the form of illustrations that made for an overly special reading experience.

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Jandy Nelson’s Jude and Noah were vividly dimensional – they changed throughout the story in ways I never expected. At the beginning of the book I adored Noah; he was a lost soul roaming the world by his lonesome, in the shadow of his beautiful sister. I wanted to pick him from the book, give him a hug and assure him that everything will be ok. And when it came to a point where that statement would be deemed a lie; well, my heart broke for him – for the boy he was meant to be. Then there was Jude – a character that completely floored me because of how different she turned out to be from what I was expecting. She was strong even when she herself felt weak. She was weird, and wonderful in ways that makes a fictional character stay with you long after you’ve completed their story. And as I type this very sentence, I am realizing how perfect that makes these two characters – they compliment each other in ways that I imagine, only twins can.

Even though I predicted what the underlying issue was, I still enjoyed this book right up until the very end. And even though I predicted what the underlying issues were, I only came to fully understand the impact of these issues once I reached the end of the story. That on its own was the deciding factor for the 5/5 stars I gave this book.

There is so much more that can be written about I’ll Give You the Sun. So much more that I really want to say! But I think some things should be left to experience personally. Do yourself a favour, and read this book!

“Or maybe a person is just made up of a lot of people,” I say. “Maybe we’re accumulating these new selves all the time.” Hauling them in as we make choices, good and bad, as we screw up, step up, lose our minds, find our minds, fall apart, fall in love, as we grieve, grow, retreat from the world, dive into the world, as we make things, as we break things.”
– Jandy Nelson, I’ll Give You the Sun

– Nihaad

August reads

I haven’t done much reading this month for reasons unknown to me; but I did manage to complete a few books which I am so happy to share. These are the books that I have completed in the month of August:
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Cinder by Marissa Meyer

If you want to read my full review on this book then please check it out here. Cinder was the first book I read this month and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was so different to the books I normally choose and the story really inspired me to read more from this genre. I gave it 4/5 stars on Goodreads.

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

Scarlet is book two in the Lunar Chronicles. While Cinder is loosely based on the fairytale of Cinderella; Scarlet is based on Little Red Riding Hood. Scarlet was very slow for me. I liked the new characters that were introduced and how they fit into the original story, where Cinder left off; but I thought the story line was very predictable. To me, Scarlet was just a book to launch you into Cress – book three in the series and based on Rapunzel. I gave it 3/5 stars on Goodreads.

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

I reached page 70 of Shatter Me and I put it down with absolutely no intention of picking it back up again. I could not stand Mafi’s writing – metaphor overkill!! A lot of it did not make sense and was just plain and simple, BAD writing! But for some reason I started reading it again and I came to enjoy it in the end. It was a fast paced story, with short chapters which I loved. I liked the characters even though they annoyed me a lot at first. Shatter Me is an intriguing read (that apparently will be made into a TV series) and I understand I am not alone in the struggle when I say that I don’t know who I like more: Warner or Adam!?! I gave it 2.5-3/5 stars on Goodreads.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by JK Rowling

This book is not shown in the picture because I read it from my tablet. I read Harry Potter a few years ago and I didn’t like it because I felt it was more of a children’s book and the writing was too simple for my liking. But then I decided to re-read it this month because I LOVE the movies. You guys, I am hooked! I love this series for everything that it is and I only wish that I could have given it a better chance when I was younger! I completely understand the hype around it and why so many people are die hard fans… I am collecting the new editions because they’re just so darn pretty, and also, I simply HAVE to have them on my bookshelf. Someone made a comment on my Instagram feed that they’re so jealous because I get to read Harry Potter for the very first time – that is how I feel most of the time when people read a book I love – I am enjoying the other end of the spectrum. I gave it 5/5 stars on Goodreads.

I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

I took a long time to reach the end of this book. Mainly because I read it slowly and did not want it to end! I loved the twins and how they told their stories. It was predictable I won’t lie; but I still loved the story with all my heart. I want to do a full review on this book so for now I will say that I gave it 5/5 stars on Goodreads.

I have a list of books I am currently reading, which I am sure you’ve seen if you follow me on Instagram. I also want to start a comic book collection but I have NO IDEA where to start!! So if any one have any tips or ideas on where I can begin with comics, then please pop a comment below!

Oh!! And HAPPY SPRING everyone in Cape Town!! (Happy 1st September to everyone around the world!!)

– Nihaad

Book Review

The Lunar Chronicles: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

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After reading so many reviews on this book, I was left really curious to say the least. When I walked past the bookstore last week I picked up a copy, bought it without thinking any more of it and walked straight out before my mind start to wonder about the pile of unread books at home. I love Sci-Fi movies with all my heart, and I can count on one hand how many romance feature films I actually enjoyed. Which is weird when I think about it because when it comes to books, my preferred genres are switched around. So after completing Cinder, I could not answer the question as to why that is…

Cinder is the first book in the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer, and it is a futuristic re-telling of the classic fairy tale, Cinderella. However, this story is very different to the one you may remember from your childhood. Cinder is cyborg. She also happens to be an extremely talented mechanic who works at a little market in the streets of New Beijing where androids and flying cars are no longer a thing of the future. For all the advancements that are now regarded normal, top scientists across the world still cannot find a cure for a deadly plague that threatens the civilians. After her step sister falls ill, her vicious step mother places all the blame on Cinder, and sends her away for the science trial programme to help find a cure. It is here, the very place Cinder has been trying to avoid for fear of never being able to see the light of day again, that she find more answers about her mysterious past than she could have ever imagined.

Of course there is a Prince too. And after a chance encounter, Cinder soon realizes that there is much more to Prince Kai’s growing concern for the staggering number of deaths caused by the incurable plague… The Lunar Queen is watching; a Queen more powerful than any before, who lets nothing stand in the way of what she wants. She’s biding her time so that she can strike at the opportune moment – when the Earthens are at their weakest.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, because it was so different to what I normally read. It was also very detailed and descriptive, but not in a way that made it seem unnecessary. I found it a bit predictable – which is why there are so many mixed feelings about this book – but there were more twists in between that kept me intrigued. I liked how we got to read from more than one person’s perspective because it gave a better picture of the whole story. I am really excited to read the rest of the series, and even more excited to explore the Sci-Fi/Fantasy genre since there are SO many books I want to get hold of. I am not sure why it’s taken me this long to read more in this genre, but I am so excited (can you tell how excited I am??) because I have a lot of catching up to do.

Have you read Cinder? And what were your thoughts on it? I’d love to know.

– Nihaad

Recent Reads

I reached my halfway mark on Goodreads last week and I was so happy to know that I am on track with my reading challenge. It’s really satisfying when you look back on all the books you’ve read and think of how much you either loved or hated it. I have to say that 2015 (so far) hasn’t been treating me too well in terms of good reads; but I have a feeling that’s going to change because I managed to get my hands on some really interesting looking books this weekend – which I will share soon. But for now, these are some of my recent reads:

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

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I am not sure how I feel about this book. I guess I expected something more from it even when I knew I shouldn’t. But I think that was the point of it though, to remind us that life is life. It should be lived and accepted for what it is. And sometimes we are put in real crappy situations where you have to let go of what you love most.

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

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I am really getting into the whole YA, Science Fiction and Fantasy genres lately. When I first read the Divergent series I truly hated it; but I re-read it recently because I really wanted to like it, and I found that my opinion on it has changed quite a bit. So I am not surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. Red Queen is also going to be a series, and if I have to compare, I would say it’s a mix between Hunger Games, Divergent and Twilight. A story filled with drama, action, betrayal and a power struggle of epic proportions.

The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend by Kody Keplinger

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After discussing this book with my sister-in-law who is also a major book worm like me, I was left with mixed feelings. When I was finished with The DUFF I didn’t particularly find it amazing, but I still liked it. I found it to be light and entertaining. My sister-in-law hated it and she explained why she had such strong feelings toward this book (which I understood and agreed with by the way) and made me rethink the entire experience. But I finally came to a conclusion about this book: no matter how strong you are or how confident you may feel, being rated or judged based on your looks is hurtful and demeaning and it affects everyone who has to deal with it. This is the lesson I chose to take from this book.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

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When I saw all the hype about this book on the internet I knew I had to read it, especially since I was looking for something light. The first book was… nice. I mean, I enjoyed it and all but it didn’t live up to all the great reviews that I’ve seen. It was entertaining but filled with so much fluff which made it a drag. With that being said, in my opinion, there was absolutely no reason for a second book. I felt like the story had no depth; or substance for that matter. It left nothing to the imagination which defeats the purpose of reading for me.

What books have you read recently and is there anything you recommend? I’d love to have some idea of what to reach for on my next trip to the book store!

– Nihaad

Favourites – Love Stories

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I’ve really enjoyed writing book reviews lately, especially since I am getting back into my reading routine. And even though I’ve read some good books recently, there are just some stories that I will always hold dear to my heart. I wrote a post on my favourites in the mystery genre a short while back, so in this post I will share some of the books I regard as my favourite romances – love stories if you prefer – in no particular order:

#1 Hopeless by Colleen Hoover

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Hopeless was one of those books where as soon as you are sure that you have it all figured out, you are smacked in the face with a heart wrenching twist that leaves you speechless.

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A story about a girl named Sky whose life slowly starts to unravel, at the hands of the local bad boy – Dean Holder, when long buried secrets begin to resurface. As the two fall hopelessly in love, Sky soon finds that Dean is not at all who he claims to be. Apart from his own secret that irrevocably changes the way Sky sees herself, the two never in their wildest dreams expected to find how deeply the truth runs and how it would leave a devastating impact on them all.

Goodreads: 4.40 avg rating
Date Published: 19 December 2012
Genre: Romance, Young Adult, Fiction, Drama

#2 Falling into You by Jasinda Wilder

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After completing this book I struggled for a long time to give any other romance a chance. Not because it was the perfect love story tied up neatly in a nice little bow. No. It was so completely imperfect and real. Falling into you gripped me, it made me feel the characters’ hardship like nothing I’ve experienced before. I felt connected to their lives as if I’ve actually lived it myself.

Falling into You wasn’t your typical love story of high school sweethearts. It was a heart breaking tale of two people who found comfort in each other during their darkest hour of need; and how the love of one person can give you the strength to move on in spite the hurt you feel.

“… when you feel that kind of all-consuming need for someone, a person you’d do f***ing anything for, no matter what? They’re in your f***ing skin, in your soul, like the essence of who they are is imprinted on you so completely like the very air you breathe… That’s love.”

Goodreads: 4.07 avg rating
Date Published: 14 March 2013
Genre: Romance, Young Adult, Fiction, Drama

#3 Charade by Nyrae Dawn

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Charade was one of the first love stories I read. It’s one of those books that I measure all other books in its genre against. A book I keep reading because it’s just so good! This is part of the blurb:

“Cheyenne needs a fake boyfriend to get back at her ex and Colt needs cash to take care of his mom, so they strike a deal that helps them both. But what if Cheyenne’s past isn’t what she thought? Soon they’re trading one charade for another—losing themselves in each other to forget about their pain. The more they play their game, the more it becomes the only thing they have that feels real.”

Now, if I read that blurb today (after the heap of romances I’ve completed since then) I wouldn’t pick it up because it screams “predictable”. It sounds childish and unnecessary. It’s everything I avoid when I choose the next book to read. BUT – it is everything you will want in your next read.

Goodreads: 4.02 avg rating
Date Published: 22 October 2012
Genre: Romance, Young Adult, Fiction, Drama

#4 Slammed by Colleen Hoover

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Surprise, surprise – another Colleen Hoover book. Although, this was somewhat different to all the others that I’ve read by her. It wasn’t so much the story line that made this one of my favourites…

Eighteen year old Layken is forced to be the rock for both her mother and younger brother, after the untimely death of her father. Being uprooted from her childhood home after this extremely difficult time in her life, is causing her some difficulty, to say the least. And as luck would have it, Will Cooper, her attractive, 21-year-old new neighbor with an intriguing passion for slam poetry, steps into her life; giving Layken a little bit of courage to move on. 

After their first date the world seems a touch brighter than before; but a shocking revelation forces their new relationship to end before it even had a chance to start. The two very quickly realize how difficult it is to ignore their feelings towards each other, even more so when a secret causes them to need each other even more.

It was the poetry…

“I got schooled this year
by
a
boy
.

A boy that I’m seriously, deeply, madly, incredibly, and undeniably inlove with.
And he taught me the most important thing of all

To put the emphasis
On life .”

Also, this book made me fall in love with “The Avett Brothers” – read some of my favourite lyrics by them here.

Goodreads: 4.32 avg rating
Date Published: 5 January 2012
Genre: Romance, Young Adult, Fiction, Drama

What are your favourite books in the romance genre? Please leave a comment, I am always on the hunt for good, new reads! Also, invite me on Goodreads, I’d love to see what books you enjoyed lately.

– Nihaad