Top Ten Tuesday: Book Quotes

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s topic was Inspirational or Thought Provoking Book Quotes. So here they are:

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“I think that love is stronger than habits or circumstances. I think it is possible to keep yourself for someone for a long time, and still remember why you were waiting when she comes at last.” Peter S. Beagle, The Last Unicorn.

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“Love is the only thing we can carry with us when we go, and it makes the end so easy.” Louisa May Alcott, Little Women.

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“Maybe all one can do is end up with the right regrets.” Arthur Miller, The Crucible.

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“I was dying of course, but then, we all are. Every day in perfect increments, I was dying of loss.” Meg Rosoff, How I Live Now.

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“Time takes it all whether you want it to or not. Time takes it all, time bears it away, and in the end there is only darkness. Sometimes we find others in that darkness, and sometimes we lose them there again.” Stephen King, The Green Mile.

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“You become responsible, forever, for what you tame.” Antoine de Saint Expery, The Little Prince

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“I hope one day you have the experience of doing something you don’t understand for someone you love.” Jonathon Safran Foer, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.

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“We accept the love we think we deserve.” Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

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“You get a strange feeling when you’re about to leave a place, I told him, like you’ll not only miss the people you love but you’ll miss the person you are now at this time and this place, because you’ll never be this way ever again.” Azar Nafisi, Reading Lolita in Tehran.

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“If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.” Haruki Murakami, Norwegian Wood

Let’s Chat!

What are your favourite book quotes? What did you think of mine? Let me know in the comments below!

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Ramadan Readathon TBR

This is my second year participating in Ramadan Readathon and I’m really pleased to have the opportunity to support Muslim authors in a more visible way. This year I’m attempting the bingo card, and I hope to complete the pillar of Hajj or the pillar of Shahada (see image below). You can find the Announcement and Sign Up page by following this link, or their official Twitter page here.

ramadan-readathon-bingo

Here’s my TBR:

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Non Western Setting: Alif the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson

Science Fiction/Fantasy

In an unnamed Middle Eastern security state, a young Arab-Indian hacker shields his clients—dissidents, outlaws, Islamists, and other watched groups—from surveillance and tries to stay out of trouble. He goes by Alif—the first letter of the Arabic alphabet, and a convenient handle to hide behind. The aristocratic woman Alif loves has jilted him for a prince chosen by her parents, and his computer has just been breached by the state’s electronic security force, putting his clients and his own neck on the line. Then it turns out his lover’s new fiancé is the “Hand of God,” as they call the head of state security, and his henchmen come after Alif, driving him underground.

When Alif discovers The Thousand and One Days, the secret book of the jinn, which both he and the Hand suspect may unleash a new level of information technology, the stakes are raised and Alif must struggle for life or death, aided by forces seen and unseen.

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Adult Fiction: The Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed

Fantasy

The Crescent Moon Kingdoms, home to djenn and ghuls, holy warriors and heretics, are at the boiling point of a power struggle between the iron-fisted Khalif and the mysterious master thief known as the Falcon Prince. In the midst of this brewing rebellion a series of brutal supernatural murders strikes at the heart of the Kingdoms. It is up to a handful of heroes to learn the truth behind these killings:

Doctor Adoulla Makhslood, “the last real ghul hunter in the great city of Dhamsawaat,” just wants a quiet cup of tea. Three score and more years old, he has grown weary of hunting monsters and saving lives, and is more than ready to retire from his dangerous and demanding vocation. But when an old flame’s family is murdered, Adoulla is drawn back to the hunter’s path.

Raseed bas Raseed, Adoulla’s young assistant, is a hidebound holy warrior whose prowess is matched only by his piety. But even as Raseed’s sword is tested by ghuls and manjackals, his soul is tested when he and Adoulla cross paths with the tribeswoman Zamia.

Zamia Badawi, Protector of the Band, has been gifted with the near-mythical power of the lion-shape, but shunned by her people for daring to take up a man’s title. She lives only to avenge her father’s death. Until she learns that Adoulla and his allies also hunt her father’s killer. Until she meets Raseed.

When they learn that the murders and the Falcon Prince’s brewing revolution are connected, the companions must race against time—and struggle against their own misgivings—to save the life of a vicious despot. In so doing they discover a plot for the Throne of the Crescent Moon that threatens to turn Dhamsawaat, and the world itself, into a blood-soaked ruin.

Free Space/ Historical Fiction: The Candle and the Flame by Nafiza Azad

YA Fantasy

Fatima lives in the city of Noor, a thriving stop along the Silk Road. There the music of myriad languages fills the air, and people of all faiths weave their lives together. However, the city bears scars of its recent past, when the chaotic tribe of Shayateen djinn slaughtered its entire population — except for Fatima and two other humans. Now ruled by a new maharajah, Noor is protected from the Shayateen by the Ifrit, djinn of order and reason, and by their commander, Zulfikar.

But when one of the most potent of the Ifrit dies, Fatima is changed in ways she cannot fathom, ways that scare even those who love her. Oud in hand, Fatima is drawn into the intrigues of the maharajah and his sister, the affairs of Zulfikar and the djinn, and the dangers of a magical battlefield.

Nafiza Azad weaves an immersive tale of magic and the importance of names; fiercely independent women; and, perhaps most importantly, the work for harmony within a city of a thousand cultures and cadences.

Involves a Journey/Multiple Points of View: We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal

YA Fantasy

People lived because she killed.
People died because he lived.

Zafira is the Hunter, disguising herself as a man when she braves the cursed forest of the Arz to feed her people. Nasir is the Prince of Death, assassinating those foolish enough to defy his autocratic father, the king. If Zafira was exposed as a girl, all of her achievements would be rejected; if Nasir displayed his compassion, his father would punish him in the most brutal of ways.

Both are legends in the kingdom of Arawiya—but neither wants to be.

War is brewing, and the Arz sweeps closer with each passing day, engulfing the land in shadow. When Zafira embarks on a quest to uncover a lost artifact that can restore magic to her suffering world and stop the Arz, Nasir is sent by the king on a similar mission: retrieve the artifact and kill the Hunter. But an ancient evil stirs as their journey unfolds—and the prize they seek may pose a threat greater than either can imagine.

Set in a richly detailed world inspired by ancient Arabia, We Hunt the Flame is a gripping debut of discovery, conquering fear, and taking identity into your own hands.

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No Romance/ Recommended to me: A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir

YA Fantasy

Beyond the Empire and within it, the threat of war looms ever larger.

The Blood Shrike, Helene Aquilla, is assailed on all sides. Emperor Marcus, haunted by his past, grows increasingly unstable, while the Commandant capitalizes on his madness to bolster her own power. As Helene searches for a way to hold back the approaching darkness, her sister’s life and the lives of all those in the Empire hang in the balance.

Far to the east, Laia of Serra knows the fate of the world lies not in the machinations of the Martial court, but in stopping the Nightbringer. But while hunting for a way to bring him down, Laia faces unexpected threats from those she hoped would aid her, and is drawn into a battle she never thought she’d have to fight.

And in the land between the living and the dead, Elias Veturius has given up his freedom to serve as Soul Catcher. But in doing so, he has vowed himself to an ancient power that will stop at nothing to ensure Elias’s devotion–even at the cost of his humanity.

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Free Space: Fire Boy by Sami Shah

Fantasy/Horror

From Sami Shah comes Fire Boy, the first of a two-part urban fantasy set in modern-day Pakistan, where djinns roam the street alongside corrupt cops, hustling beggars, and creatures from the darkest corners of Islamic mythology.

Growing up in Karachi isn’t easy. Wahid has a lot on his mind: the girl he likes, mostly, but also choosing a good university and finding time to play Dungeons and Dragons. Oh, and the fact that he can see djinns, other-worldly creatures made of a smokeless and scorching fire. After a horrific car accident kills his best friend and djinns steal his girlfriend’s soul, Wahid vows to find out why. Fortunately, he has help in finding the djinns that tried to kill him. Unfortunately, that help is from the darkest of all spirits, the Devil himself …

Fire Boy is filled with supernatural entities and high-paced action, but it also gives the reader a vivid insight into life in Pakistan.

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Non-Fiction: Destiny Disrupted: A History of the World Through Islamic Eyes by Tamin Ansary

We in the west share a common narrative of world history. But our story largely omits a whole civilization whose citizens shared an entirely different narrative for a thousand years.In Destiny Disrupted, Tamim Ansary tells the rich story of world history as the Islamic world saw it, from the time of Mohammed to the fall of the Ottoman Empire and beyond. He clarifies why our civilizations grew up oblivious to each other, what happened when they intersected, and how the Islamic world was affected by its slow recognition that Europe—a place it long perceived as primitive and disorganized—had somehow hijacked destiny.

Let’s Chat!

What are your favourite books by Muslim authors? Have you read any of the books on my TBR? What did you think of them? Let me know in the comments below!

Asian Readathon TBR

I’m so excited for this because I have so so many books that are perfect for this readathon! Asian Readathon runs the entire month of May and is dedicated to reading books written by Asian authors, and books that celebrate Asian characters. You can find the announcement here, and the official Twitter page here, and finally you can find a master list of books by Asian authors here.

The Challenges are as follows:

  1. Read any book by an Asian author.
  2. Read a graphic novel featuring an Asian character or written/drawn by an Asian author (manga, manhua, manhwa, and comics count).
  3. Read a book featuring an intersectional Asian character or written by an intersectional Asian identity (i.e. queer, mixed, disabled, neurodiverse, etc).
  4. Read a book by Asian author that was originally written in their native language (translated books and graphic novels count).
  5. Read the group book: A Thousand Beginnings and Endings by Ellen Oh, which will be covered in the live show on Saturday, May 25 at 6pm EST on readwithcindy’s channel.

The twist:

  • You can combine challenges and read in any order; however, EACH book you read should feature a character or author of a different Asian ethnicity. This is to encourage cultural diversity.

Vietnamese: Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao🇻🇳

This is a retelling of the rise of the evil queen from Cinderella in an Asian setting. I like villain backstories, so I’m excited to read this.

Chinese: Want by Cindy Pon🇨🇳

Set in future Taipei, this is the story of a group of friends fighting corruption in a world destroyed by pollution.

Chinese: Descendant of the Crane by Joan He🇨🇳

Set in a Chinese inspired world, Descendant of the Crane is full of twisty court politics, but at its core it is a murder mystery, and about a daughter trying to find her father’s killer.

Chinese: The Poppy War by R. F. Kuang🇨🇳

I DNF’d this book last year, but decided to give it another go after reading a blog post by the author. It’s based on the events of the Second Sino-Japanese War and the Nanjing Massacre, told in a fantasy setting.

Filipino: The Shadowglass by Rin Chupeco🇵🇭

The third and final instalment of The Bone Witch series, The Shadow Glass continues Tea’s story. Full of vengeance and magic and monsters, this series is quickly becoming one of my favourites. I’m almost scared to find out how it ends.

Indian: Markswoman by Rati Mehrotra🇮🇳

Markswoman is basically about an elite warrior in the Order of Kali who pledges to protect the people of Asiana, but is torn by her desire to avenge her murdered family.

Indian: A Spark of White Fire by Sangu Mandanna🇮🇳

This is pegged as an outer space retelling of the Maharabhata. What’s not to love?

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Indian: Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri🇮🇳

This is a Mughal India inspired fantasy featuring a nobleman’s daughter in whose blood flows the magic of the nomadic Amrithi people. When her powers draw the attention of the Emperor’s mystics, she must resist their cruel plan, or risk waking vengeful gods.

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Pakistani: A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir🇵🇰

The third in the Ember in the Ashes series, I’ve been avoiding this book for well over six months. I was trying to wait for the final book to come out before reading it, but I don’t think I can wait any longer.

Pakistani: Unmarriageable by Soniah Kamal 🇵🇰

This is a Pride and Prejudice retelling in Pakistan. Enough said.

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Singaporean: The Black Tides of Heaven by J.Y. Yang🇸🇬

This has rebellion, prophecy and siblings choosing different paths that take them further away from each other.

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Japanese: The Guest Cat by Takashi Hiraide🇯🇵

This is a pretty slim novel which I’d probably describe as a slice-of-life meditation on the transient nature of life featuring a young couple, their neighbours, and a stray cat.

Japanese: Kojiki by Keith Yatsuhashi 🇯🇵

Kojiki is set in modern Japan, but explores the unseen world of spirits and monsters.

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Korean: Conservation of Shadows by Yoon Ha Lee🇰🇷

Conservation of Shadows is a collection of short stories blending mythology and futuristic technology. Apparently it explores themes ranging from colonisation to the role of art to suicide.

Legend and Myth|| A. D. Broadby

Legend and Myth (Gate to an Ancient Realm) by A. D. Broadby

#1 in series

619 pages

Fantasy

Release date: 25 April 2019

DNF 10%

Synopsis:

Seven winged warriors known as the Kyra… One innocent girl fighting for her life…

In a time when the Dragons roam and the War-dogs rage, the call of the Enarie Light has awoken the power of the Prophecy’s Truth.
The threat of war is brewing and across the Land of Men wielders of sword and sorcery ready their weapons for battle, while the Kyra race against time and shadow in search of the Prophecy’s Truth.

For Ava of Ellie’dew, the arrival of the Kyra in her homeland marks the beginning of a perilous journey, one that may decide her fate but one she must endure for the sake of all that she holds dear.

With only the Guardians of the Light and Baleden, one would-be knight, standing between her freedom and the demons of darkness, Ava must traverse invaded lands to reach the Gate to the Ancient Realm before all hope is lost.

Can the girl with crystal eyes outrun the darkness that hunts her? She is, after all, just a simple village lass… is she not?

My Thoughts:

I’m going to be brutally honest. I have no idea what the story is about. I don’t know who the main players are. I don’t even remember most of what I read.

Why? Because the writing is stilted, repetitive and riddled with spelling and grammatical errors. I spent the whole time I was reading it highlighting and correcting all the mistakes.

For me, a book can be lacking in worldbuilding, it can have a predictable plot, or it can have poorly developed characters. But it cannot have this many basic writing mistakes that could have been fixed by a copy editor. I can force my way through a book lacking in other areas, but I can’t force myself to read a novel with poor editing for entertainment purposes. The fact is, this is more like a draft of a potentially amazing high fantasy novel, rather than the finished product.

So regarding the plot, the characters, and the worldbuilding I have no negative comments. I didn’t read enough to be able to comment on these aspects meaningfully, and it is a shame, because I think it’s important to support self-published authors. Unfortunately this novel just missed the mark. Should the author revise and redistribute this book at a later date, I would definitely give it another chance.

The Gilded Wolves|| Roshani Chokshi

The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi

YA Historical Fantasy

388 pages

Release date: 15 January 2019

#1 in series

⭐️⭐️⭐️

Synopsis

No one believes in them. But soon no one will forget them.

It’s 1889. The city is on the cusp of industry and power, and the Exposition Universelle has breathed new life into the streets and dredged up ancient secrets. Here, no one keeps tabs on dark truths better than treasure-hunter and wealthy hotelier Séverin Montagnet-Alarie. When the elite, ever-powerful Order of Babel coerces him to help them on a mission, Séverin is offered a treasure that he never imagined: his true inheritance.

To hunt down the ancient artifact the Order seeks, Séverin calls upon a band of unlikely experts: An engineer with a debt to pay. A historian banished from his home. A dancer with a sinister past. And a brother in arms if not blood.

Together, they will join Séverin as he explores the dark, glittering heart of Paris. What they find might change the course of history–but only if they can stay alive.

General Comments

If you are going into this book expecting it to be like The Star-Touched Queen series you will be disappointed. The writing is still amazing, but it lacks the poetic descriptions and beautiful prose of Chokshi’s debut novel. I’ve also heard it compared to Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo, but I can’t comment on the comparison, as I haven’t read that book yet.

While I enjoyed the book overall, I wasn’t really desperate to keep reading it when I put it down. It’s hard to pinpoint what was the problem, but I think I just wasn’t that excited by the plot. It wasn’t bad, so maybe heists just aren’t my thing? I also wasn’t super excited about the magic system, which is something I normally look forward to.

What I Liked

  • I liked the diversity of the characters in this book. Although I felt like they could have had a bit more depth, these four stood out among the six.

Laila is an Indian dancer with an ability to read the history of almost anything she touches. She loves cooking and has a strong mothering instinct.

Zofia is a Polish-Jewish scientist with a talent for Forging. She seems to be on the autism spectrum, and struggles with human interaction, preferring to get lost in mathematics and inventions.

Enrique is a bisexual Spanish-Filipino historian. He’s witty and a bit sarcastic.

Hypnos didn’t have a narrative voice of his own, but he was such a fun character. He is the bastard bi-racial head of the House of Nyx. He was sarcastic and flirtatious, but he had a lot of depth, showing hints of loneliness.

  • I appreciated the exploration of colonialism/imperialism, and how that affected both individuals and societies, although I would have liked to have a spent a bit more time doing so.
  • I did enjoy the witty, sarcastic banter between Severin, Enrique and Hypnos at various times throughout the book.

What I Disliked

  • I didn’t have any particularly strong negative opinions regarding this book, just a sense of being a bit bored and underwhelmed by the plot, which had something to do with Babel Rings, and Babel Fragments.
  • I didn’t really understand the individual characters’ motivations for participating in the heist, or indeed why the heist was necessary at all.
  • Two of the main six characters didn’t have narrative voices of their own, which struck me as a bit odd.
  • I didn’t care much for Severin, despite his story being the central thread running through the book. He is a bi-racial former heir to the House of ___, but his inheritance was taken from him because the Order wouldn’t allow two bi-racial children to inherit Houses at the same time. I didn’t find his narrative that interesting, and I didn’t find his back story or motivations that compelling.
  • I guess I also didn’t care about Tristan, because I totally forgot about him and had to look him up. He’s a bit of a hermit and has a talent for Forging related to plants. He doesn’t have a narrative of his own, and this surprised me given that he was part of the inner circle.
  • I was unclear about the magic system, which is called Forging. I can’t explain it, because I still genuinely don’t understand the rules, except some people have the ability, and it’s somehow related to Babel Fragments.
  • I didn’t feel like there was enough suspense to keep me engaged in the heist. Everything seemed to have a magical solution that one of the Forgers could just whip up. Like invisibility powder or whatever was required.

Wow, I had more issues with this book than I thought I did. If I weren’t analysing it for review I wouldn’t have even thought of these things. Needless to say I won’t be picking up the next volume in the series.

Let’s Chat!

Have you read The Gilded Wolves? What did you think? Do you ever reflect on a book later and find you liked it much less than you thought? Let me know in the comments below.

Year of the Asian Reading Challenge

I know this is a bit late in the year, but I thought I’d give this reading challenge a whirl. I’m already signed up for 2019 Retellings Reading Challenge, but I have quite a few Asian authored books on my TBR so it only made sense to give this one a go. It runs from 1 January to midnight on 31 December 2019, and the only requirement is to read books by Asian authors. The organisation and dedication the co-hosts have put into this are phenomenal, and I’d like to personally thank them all. You can find the original announcement and sign up post here, and you can follow them on Twitter here.

 

Overall Challenge

There are 6 levels, and I’m aiming to read 31-40 books, so my badge will be this cute-as Giant Panda!

1elMPic

TBR

My TBR for this is soooo long, so I’ll just include my top 10

  1. The Shadow Glass by Rin Chupeco 🇵🇭
  2. Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao🇻🇳
  3. Want by Cindy Pon🇨🇳
  4. Descendant of the Crane by Joan He🇨🇳
  5. Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri🇮🇳
  6. Markswoman by Rati Mehrotra🇮🇳
  7. A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir🇵🇰
  8. The Black Tides of Heaven by JY Yang🇸🇬
  9. The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang🇨🇳
  10. The Palace of Illusions by Chitra Divakaruni🇮🇳

 

Progress Tracker

I’ll be posting a monthly on my blog to keep track of my progress. I’ll update this post, as well as doing a separate wrap up post, so be sure to check them out!

Let’s Chat!

Are you participating in any Reading Challenges this year? Do you enjoy year long challenges, or do you prefer shorter readathons? What are some of your favourite Asian authored books? Let me know in the comments below!

 

Progress so far (Yes it’s dismal)

  • The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi🇮🇳🇵🇭 ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  • Winterglass by Benjanun Sriduangkaew 🇹🇭 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  • In the Vanishers’ Palace by Aliette de Bodard🇻🇳 ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  • The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco 🇵🇭⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  • The Heart Forger by Rin Chupeco 🇵🇭⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  • Conservation of Shadows by Yoon Ha Lee🇰🇷 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  • Unmarriageable by Soniah Kamal 🇵🇰 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  • Want by Cindy Pon ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  • Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao 🇻🇳
  • The Candle and the Flame by Nafiza Azad 🇫🇯

Bunny Books|| Easter Recommendations

In honour of Easter, and springtime in the northern hemisphere, I thought I’d recommend to you some delightful children’s books about bunnies. Some are Easter Bunnies, some are toys, and some are just bunnies living their lives. I hope you enjoy!

 

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The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes by Du Bose Hayward

The Country Bunny was probably my favourite Easter story as a child. It’s about a young, small, female rabbit who dreams of becoming an Easter Bunny, but she is ridiculed by others so she follows the expected path and becomes a mother. She raises them well, and when they’re old enough she takes them to see the Easter Bunny selection, where her childhood dreams come true. I love the messages in this book, and they still resonate with me today.

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The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams

The Velveteen Rabbit was my favourite Bunny book ever as a child. It’s the story of a toy bunny who longs to become a real rabbit. A part of me always hoped that one day my toys would become real.

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The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo

This is a bit longer than the other books on this list, but well worth the read. It caught my attention after it was used on a Korean drama back in 2012, and I loved it. It’s about a china rabbit called Edward Tulane who is very arrogant about his own worth. His owner, a little girl, adores him and takes very good care of him. But one day, he is lost. The story follows his journey to find his home, and all the people (and creatures) he meets on the way.

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Grandfather Bunny by Jane Werner Watson

I’ve always loved the illustrations in this Little Golden Book. Everything is so colourful! It’s the story of a bunny and his descendants painting everything from Easter eggs to snow, and everything in between. The end is sad in a metaphorical kind of way, but it’s beautiful too.

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The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter

How could I possibly leave out this classic? Peter Rabbit is the most famous literary bunny in the world I’d wager. It’s about a young rabbit who can’t help but get into mischief (and who almost gets himself eaten).

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Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney

This book was published when I was a teenager, but I read it to my baby cousin. It’s about the love between a mother and her child. What could be more beautiful?

Let’s Chat!

Have you read any of these books? What were your favourite kids books with bunnies? Have I missed any? Let me know in the comments below!

March Digital Planner Flip Through

At the end of February I started a digital planner using the GoodNotes app. I posted a few screenshots along with my February Book Bujo last month because I hadn’t done much then. Since I used it for the whole month of March, I thought it warranted its own post. I still don’t think it’s as aesthetically pleasing as it could be, but I think it’s just one of those things that will keep improving.

For March I purchased Woodland Fox printable planner stickers from Plannersaurus and CCM Digitals’ Fall Digital Planner Stickers on Etsy.

So let’s get into it.

First up I have my calendar where I track my reading and blog posts, followed by a page with my monthly goals and TBR.

The next page has the new releases I’m interested in for the month, and I mark any I purchase.

My next page contains my habit trackers and my reading progress for each book I picked up this month.

Then, I finally get to my weekly spreads that contain all my appointments, to-do lists, weather and mood trackers.

I had heaps to do on Saturday the 16th, so I tried a full day spread to keep me on task, and for the most part it worked. Being able to block out parts of my day for certain activities helped me pace myself.

Since I had to overhaul my diet, I decided to do a page to note the foods I can eat, and the ones I should avoid, or have smaller portions of.

The next page is dedicated to my monthly reading wrap up.

My last page was used to sort out all the forms and documents I needed for a bunch of pet insurance claims. I like that I can add pages where I need them.

Pros

I’ve found having a digital planner quite useful, because I can change things around pretty easily when appointments or tasks change. I can also add or delete pages as needed to suit my purposes.

I can also make it as simple or as decorative as I like, and there isn’t the worry about having to use white-out to fix mistakes, or the annoyance of ink bleeding through the pages.

Cons

The main downside to the digital planner is the cost of purchasing stickers. If you’re creative, have the right tools (such as an iPad and stylus), and a vague idea of how digital graphics work (layers confuse me), then this shouldn’t be a problem for you. You can use a program like Procreate to make your own digital stickers using your own artwork. (You can also download free Procreate brushes, or purchase them from Etsy or sites such as Uproot, to help create your stickers).

While the CCM Digital Stickers can be imported directly as a full sheet of pre-cut stickers into GoodNotes, I had to use Evernote and Procreate to transfer and crop the fox stickers into my Boho Berry Sticker Book (also in GoodNotes), which frankly, was a bit of a pain in the ass.

My only other slight quibble is that I can’t create a cover page for the month, because the journal came with pre-set hyperlinks, so the first page is the calendar. I’m sure with a bit of experimenting, I will be able to fix this.

Let’s Chat!

Do you use a digital planner or some other kind of planner? Did you buy a particular brand? What do you like or dislike about your planner? Let me know in the comments below!

Things That Make Me Want to Pick Up a Book || Top Ten Tuesday (6 Days Late)

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly post hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. I don’t consistently participate in these, but the prompt for last Tuesday was too good to miss. So here is my top ten. Better late than never.

 

  1. A Beautiful Cover: No matter what the old adage says, covers are important, because as another saying goes, you only get one chance to make a first impression. Personally, I’m a sucker for covers with gold accents. Some examples include Circe by Madeline Miller, Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor and The Binding by Brigid Collins.                                                                                             
  2. Representation: I want to read books that offer different perspectives to my own. Sure, I like to read about people that are like me sometimes, but the world is full of so many different people with different experiences. I like to read stories where different ethnicities, cultures, religions, sexualities, genders, abilities & disabilities exist. Especially when they are normalised, so the book isn’t just about those intersectionalities. Some great examples are Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand, Blanca & Roja by Anna-Marie McLemore, and Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant.
  3. Cool magic systems: I love good, solid worldbuilding, and my favourite thing is an interesting magic system. I love exploring worlds based on cool magic. A couple great examples are Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone and An Unkindness of Magicians by Kat Howard.                                                            
  4. Multiple Points of View: I like reading the events of a story from more than one point of view. I don’t mind whether it’s first or third person narration, but I like being able to witness events I would otherwise miss if I was only following one character. Some good examples are An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir and Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi.                       
  5. Buzzwords in the synopsis or title: There are certain words that almost guarantee I’ll pick up a book. Some of these are: necromancy, plague, alchemy, assassins, gods, witches, and cats. Some books that had me hooked with a single word were The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco, Circe by Madeline Miller and Nevernight by Jay Kristoff.                                                                                            
  6. Non European settings: There have been plenty of fantasy novels set in generic European settings, and I want to travel the world when I read (because I’m not going anywhere in real life anytime soon). Some of my favourites are The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco and The Star Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi.
  7. Retellings: I love retellings. Picking up a familiar story is like putting on a really comfy pair of worn in shoes. I know what to expect, and I can be pretty sure that I’m going to have a good experience. Some great examples are Stain by A.G. Howard and To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo.                          
  8. Standalone: I’m more likely to pick up a book if it’s a standalone, rather than a series. A great example is The Children of Jocasta by Natalie Haynes.
  9. Antiheroes/Villains/Morally Grey Characters: Look, I love a hero, but often antiheroes, villains and morally grey characters are much more interesting to read about. There’s so much more angst behind every decision when the road isn’t clear cut. Plus their arcs have so many more possibilities than a hero. A couple examples of this are Nevernight by Jay Kristoff and Vicious by V. E. Schwab.
  10. Good Reviews: Even if something doesn’t sound like it’s going to be my cup of tea, I’ll give it a try if I’ve seen good reviews, especially if there are plenty of them. Some books I’ve picked up because of good reviews include Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel and The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.

Let’s Chat!

What are some things that influence whether you pick up a book? Are any of them the same as mine? Let me know in the comments below!

March Bullet Journal Flip Through

This month I decided to try my hand at a traditional bullet journal to keep track of my life. I spent a ridiculous amount of time setting up my March and April spreads this month, but I find it quite calming. The perfectionist in me who loves order and lists revelled in the whole process.

That being said, I was perhaps a little ambitious with my theme for March. I decided to do Autumn Foxes, which sounds cute, but had mixed success. My drawings looked pretty much like any animal except foxes, as you’ll see. What’s that saying? My reach exceeded my grasp? Yep. That’s me.

First up I have my guiding lines page, followed by my March splash page. My fox looks more like a cat… oops.

My first double page spread is my calendar where I track my reading and plan my blog posts for the month. I also pen in birthdays.

The next page has my mood tracker, followed by my habit trackers and my monthly goals.

Next is my TBR, and I mark which ones I’ve read, followed by March new releases, and I’ve coloured in the ones I’ve purchased. These pages are very minimalistic (I’d given up on drawing foxes by time I got around to decorating these pages.)

Next up is a double page spread for week 10, in which my fox looks more like an orange skunk. *Sigh* What I like about this spread is that there is room to draw (if you actually have the ability). There isn’t a lot of room for the actual bullet points (because I like them on one line), but I will probably use the same spread next month.

My week 11 spread features a wolf wearing fox fur. I don’t necessarily like how crowded it looks when I’ve got a lot happening in one day, but I like this spread overall because I can fit so much on the page.

My next weekly spread was pretty basic, but it’s probably one of the most functional ones.

The last weekly spread was also very functional, and had I the inclination, I could have decorated a bit more.

My next pages contain my March Book Haul, my monthly recommendation list (retconned, because the post is quite a few days away), and my monthly wrap up. This month I did both a reading and watching wrap up.

Finally, I’ve included a page for my blog posts, and a page to list what I can eat, and what I should avoid with my new diet.

Overall, I really enjoyed my foray into bullet journaling. I found it quite calming, and having a place to write out plans and lists appealed to the perfectionist in me. I also liked that I could be creative with colour and images, although next month I’ll be a bit less ambitious and draw things within my ability.

Let’s Chat!

Do you bullet journal? What do you do to keep track of things? Let me know in the comments below!