Winter TBR

Winter TBR

Despite the blustery weather and the bone-deep chill of winter, there is something beautiful and whimsical about this season, and not only because of the Christmas holidays. The scene unfolding outside the window is almost ethereal: a milky moon hanging in the skies like an ornament dangling from a Christmas tree, the bare branches swaying in the wind and snowflakes dancing in the cold air, blanketing the sidewalks.

Winter makes me acutely aware of the simple things in life that make me happy. I love those moments spent inside toasty warm coffeeshops, sipping a warm cup of tea and reading to my heart’s content. I love the steam rising from cups of coffee, the feel of the scarf wrapped around my neck and the seasonal music playing in the background. I love snuggling in my warm bed while listening to the rain pattering against the window. I love the smell of baking bread wafting from the kitchen and hot homemade soup that always burns my tongue. I love oversized sweaters, hot chocolate with melted marshmallows and burning teakwood scented-candles.

The cold weather is basically the perfect excuse to stay at home and read all day. And there are honestly so many books I want to read this Winter that have been waiting on my shelves for so long! Here are a few of them but I am open to any recommendations 🙂


 

  • The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden || At the edge of the Russian wilderness, winter lasts most of the year and the snowdrifts grow taller than houses. But Vasilisa doesn’t mind—she spends the winter nights huddled around the embers of a fire with her beloved siblings, listening to her nurse’s fairy tales. Above all, she loves the chilling story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon, who appears in the frigid night to claim unwary souls. Wise Russians fear him, her nurse says, and honor the spirits of house and yard and forest that protect their homes from evil.After Vasilisa’s mother dies, her father goes to Moscow and brings home a new wife. Fiercely devout, city-bred, Vasilisa’s new stepmother forbids her family from honouring the household spirits. The family acquiesces, but Vasilisa is frightened. And indeed, crops begin to fail, evil creatures of the forest creep nearer, and misfortune stalks the village. All the while, Vasilisa’s stepmother grows ever harsher in her determination to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for either marriage or confinement in a convent. As danger circles, Vasilisa must defy even the people she loves and call on dangerous gifts she has long concealed—this, in order to protect her family from a threat that seems to have stepped from her nurse’s most frightening tales. [Goodreads]

 

  • City of Thieves by David Benioff ||During the Nazis’ brutal siege of Leningrad, Lev Beniov is arrested for looting and thrown into the same cell as a handsome deserter named Kolya. Instead of being executed, Lev and Kolya are given a shot at saving their own lives by complying with an outrageous directive: secure a dozen eggs for a powerful Soviet colonel to use in his daughter’s wedding cake. In a city cut off from all supplies and suffering unbelievable deprivation, Lev and Kolya embark on a hunt through the dire lawlessness of Leningrad and behind enemy lines to find the impossible. [Goodreads]

 

  • All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr || A stunningly beautiful novel about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II. [Goodreads]

 

  • The Final Empire [Mistborn Trilogy #1] by Brandon Sanderson || In a world where ash falls from the sky, and mist dominates the night, an evil cloaks the land and stifles all life. The future of the empire rests on the shoulders of a troublemaker and his young apprentice. Together, can they fill the world with color once more? [Goodreads]

 

  • Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor ||The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around—and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance or lose his dream forever. [Goodreads]

 

  • Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain ||At least one-third of the people we know are introverts. They are the ones who prefer listening to speaking, reading to partying; who innovate and create but dislike self-promotion; who favor working on their own over brainstorming in teams. Although they are often labeled “quiet,” it is to introverts that we owe many of the great contributions to society–from van Gogh’s sunflowers to the invention of the personal computer. Passionately argued, impressively researched, and filled with indelible stories of real people, Quiet shows how dramatically we undervalue introverts, and how much we lose in doing so. [Goodreads]

 

  • The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson || Once a century, one person is chosen for greatness. Elisa is the chosen one. But she is also the younger of two princesses, the one who has never done anything remarkable. She can’t see how she ever will. Now, on her sixteenth birthday, she has become the secret wife of a handsome and worldly king—a king whose country is in turmoil. A king who needs the chosen one, not a failure of a princess.And he’s not the only one who seeks her. Savage enemies seething with dark magic are hunting her. A daring, determined revolutionary thinks she could be his people’s savior. And he looks at her in a way that no man has ever looked at her before. Soon it is not just her life, but her very heart that is at stake. Elisa could be everything to those who need her most. If the prophecy is fulfilled. If she finds the power deep within herself. If she doesn’t die young. Most of the chosen do. [Goodreads]

 

  • Memoirs of Geisha by Arthur Golden || In this book we enter a world where appearances are paramount; where a girl’s virginity is auctioned to the highest bidder; where women are trained to beguile the most powerful men; and where love is scorned as illusion. It is a unique and triumphant work of fiction – at once romantic, erotic, suspenseful – and completely unforgettable. [Goodreads]

 

  • Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen || Marianne Dashwood wears her heart on her sleeve, and when she falls in love with the dashing but unsuitable John Willoughby she ignores her sister Elinor’s warning that her impulsive behaviour leaves her open to gossip and innuendo. Meanwhile Elinor, always sensitive to social convention, is struggling to conceal her own romantic disappointment, even from those closest to her. Through their parallel experience of love—and its threatened loss—the sisters learn that sense must mix with sensibility if they are to find personal happiness in a society where status and money govern the rules of love. [Goodreads]

 

x.

Review || An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson

Review || An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson
A prodigy artist. An Autumn Prince. An adventure across seasons.

In a small village called Whimsy, where Summer reigns all year round, there lives a young portrait artist called Isobel. Her Craft gives her life purpose and this is evident in her paintings, so much so that they are highly prized amongst the Fair Folk. Since the Fae themselves cannot create, human Craft is craved amongst them, and they are willing to pay in enchantments just to get a small taste of it. One day Isobel receives her first royal patron, none other than Rook, the Autumn Prince. However she makes a terrible mistake when painting human sorrow into his eyes, thus revealing his weakness. Furious, Rook whisks her off to the Autumnland to stand trial and pay for her actions. However, this trip instantly turns into a dangerous journey, with monsters, the Wild Hunt and the Alder King endangering both of their lives and their alliance is the only thing that could lead to their survival.

“Why do we desire, above all other things, that which has the greatest power to destroy us?” 

An Enchantment of Ravens has been one of my most anticipated releases of this year, with promise of magic, Fair Folk, adventure and a land where Autumn reigns all year. And it did deliver all of these…and yet it did not live up to the hype surrounding it. Maybe I had really high expectations or I was still reeling after finishing The Secret History, but I was quite disappointed when I finished it.

First of all, this book is quite short for a fantasy story, considering you have to get acquainted with a new world while also describing the characters and plot along the way. Moreover, I think the author did not utilise this short length of the book in an effective way, thus ended up with long stretches of protracted scenes, leaving only a few pages for the good ones. There was also a lot of focus on the journey of the characters, with long descriptive scenes of the forest and the surroundings, and while I did enjoy reading them, I would have liked to learn more about the actual plot and the world as well. I usually adore slow paced books but I think this story dragged a lot and didn’t motivate me to read that much…hence why it took me so long to finish it.

One of the things that I truly enjoyed was the writing. Margaret Rogerson has such a wonderful talent in weaving intricate sentences that conjure up scenes of flaming Fall leaves littering the forest floor, or of hot summer days of endless blue skies and golden wheat fields. She is able to breath life to each season with every word, making the forest alive in a riot of colours, beauty and power. Having said that, while descriptions of the setting were abundant, I was hoping for more world building especially into the laws governing the Fair folk, the World Beyond and what sets this apart from the other lands. I am still filled with so many questions about the Fair Folk, where they came from, why the Alder King came to be so powerful or why human craft has such a devastating effect on them.

Also, in terms of writing, I extremely appreciated the author’s astute descriptions of Isobel’s talent, from the in-depth way that she explained how she made the paint from scratch to the blending of colours. She truly motivated me to pick up my pencils and paper and start drawing again!

 

“It’s difficult to explain what happens when I pick up a charcoal stick or a paintbrush. I can tell you the world changes. I see things one way when I’m not working, and an entirely different way when I am. Faces become not-faces, structures composed of light and shadow, shapes and angles and texture. The deep luminous glow of an iris where the light hits it from the window becomes exquisitely compelling. I hunger for the shadow that falls diagonally across my subject’s collar, the fine lighter filaments in his hair ablaze like thread-of-gold. My mind and hand become possessed. I paint not because I want to, not because I’m good at it, but because it is what I must do, what I live and breathe, what I was made for.”

 

I also extremely enjoyed the author’s rendition of the Fair Folk, giving them such unique attributes that made them appear both formidable and alluring. To mention a few, the Fair Folk are incapable of lying, appear quite flawless in appearance due to the use of glamour to hide their inhuman looks underneath, attempting human craft is fatal to them and they also cannot feel human emotions. The author contrived this mysterious aura around them, reminiscent of their own glamour, that one cannot truly decide if they are good or evil- if such an argument is valid considering they are not even human.

 

“A road stretched before us and behind us. The fair folk cavorted along it in a line, pale forms flickering like sepulchral flames, a procession of ghosts. The forest rose on either side of the path, but it wasn’t the same forest that existed in the world we had been in before. The trees were as big around as houses. Roots rose from the ground at such a height I wouldn’t have been able to climb them if I’d tried. The fair folks’ white luminosity cast flittering shadows across the bark.

 

Isobel is quite an engaging character and wonderful to read from her perspective. She is hard-working and intuitive, never failing to do her utmost in protecting her family with enchantments received as payments for her paintings. She also craves adventure and something different from her predictable routine and endless days of summer. But along the way she slowly turns into the usual cliched heroine, loosing all reason in her infuriating infatuation for a prince she only just met. Because the dreaded insta-love unfortunately makes an appearance and it instantly became the main focus of the story. I found it so disappointing when such an interesting concept-of Isobel painting mortal sorrow in Rook’s eyes- ended up being just a thinly-veiled plot device for these two characters to fall head over heels for each other when there was no actual chemistry between them. The love confessions were laughable at best, especially seeing how they were never given a chance to slowly grow in character and as a couple. Basically the romance took over the whole plot which is quite sad considering all the potential routes this book could have taken.

 

Rook is an interesting character with many layers to uncover. Despite his lack of human emotions, there are still human attributes to his personality, mainly his arrogance and pride, along with his deep love for Autumn. He is also good-natured and sometimes surprisingly well attuned to the feelings of others, apologising profusely when he thinks he’s offended someone. I appreciated his respect towards Isobel’s wishes and never attempted to push her boundaries without asking her first. Rook also has the power to shape shift and I actually found Isobel’s interactions with him as an animal quite endearing to read. Despite all this, he has an aura of mystery surrounding him and there are so many things that we never get to know about him. I guess this is quite fitting seeing how closed-off he is as a character, but this in-turn deprives the reader from fully connecting with him. I wanted to learn more about his past, get to know him better just so I could actually care about him.

Secondary characters are as important as the main characters, but for the same reason mentioned above, this book was too short and there was no time for the author to focus more on Isobel’s family or the other Fair Folk mentioned later on in the story. Aster was the only character that I had some sort of connection with, but like the rest of the characters, she was put in the sidelines and only mentioned briefly. In my opinion, books that focus on their ensemble cast of secondary characters put fresh light on the main theme of the story, and without their perspective, the story would lack credibility and creativity.

Sadly I didn’t like the ending of this book, mainly because it felt quite rushed and convenient. The way the author dealt with the evil Alder-king and his oppressive laws lacked any inspiring or intricate plot and there were so many loose ends that I kept asking myself if this book was actually part of a series (which is not).

Overall I found this book underwhelming and disappointing, which is quite sad considering how much potential it had. While I enjoyed the writing, it failed to deliver a proper fantasy story with intricate world building, character growth and a realistic relationship. However I would still recommend it to those people who love slow-paced journey books… and insta-love!


Rating: ☆☆ [2.5 stars]

  • Genre: Young Adult- Fantasy, Romance
  • Edition: Margaret K. McElderry Book, September 2017, Hardback
  • Pages:300
  • Source: Book Depository

 

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Book Menus

Book Menus

Feeling hungry? Then you are about to get ravenous!

While rereading the Harry Potter series this month, I became acutely aware of the vast number of scenes in the books that either feature food, talk about food or showcase characters whose hunger pangs rival my own (I’m talking about you Ron!). Now I should probably point out (if you haven’t noticed already) that I love a sumptuous dinner as much as I love an overflowing bookshelf and whenever I come across a food scene while I’m reading, my stomach starts to growl like my next door neighbour’s dog! So I decided to write a blog post that features some of my favourite books and the types of food that are mentioned in them. I think it’s incredible to read about the different kinds of cuisines across literature, and how much these scenes add such a unique taste to the story!


Purple Hibiscus   Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Purple Hibiscus is set in Nigeria and it features different kinds of Nigerian cuisines throughout the story. Interestingly enough, Nigerian cuisine involves a great variety of colourful and aromatic dishes, using various herbs, spices, beans, meat and rice. Adichie’s writing conjured such vivid images of these luscious dishes that I was constantly hungry while I was reading it! To mention a few:

  • Fufu: A Nigerian staple food that is mentioned quite a lot in the novel. It is a dough-like dish made of boiled or ground plantain, cassava or yam that is rolled into a ball to go with soups. In fact Kambili eats it by rolling it and dipping it in the Onugbu soup.
  • Ofe Onugbu: Also known as the Bitterleaf soup, it is the most traditional Igbo soup. Apparently the name is quite misleading since the soup is not bitter at all. The leaves are washed and squeezed until all traces of bitterness is gone.
  • Egusi Soup: It is a popular Nigerian dish made from ground egusi (melon) seeds.
  • Nigerian Fried Rice: This is probably one of my favourite dishes mentioned in the book and it usually consists of rice, vegetable oil, chicken, curry with several vegetables and seasoning.
  • Utazi: It is an African herb that has a characteristically sharp taste and is used in soups and herb teas to add a bitter taste.

The Grisha trilogy Leigh Bardugo

In an interview with Wendy Darling (click this link for more info), Leigh Bardugo concurs that food forms an integral part in a story in the way it makes the fictional world more familiar and real. But authors also have the ability to twist the familiar into something extraordinary, so while you still feel at home within the fictional place, you also realise that you have been transported into a fantastical place.

If I could live on a carbs-only diet, I would! So when I read about Ravka’s Butterweek Sweet Bird-shaped Rolls, I couldn’t help imagining myself eating a whole basket! The bird-shaped rolls mentioned in Shadow and Bone are inspired by those that are still made today in Russia to celebrate the coming of Spring and the prosperity that it brings with it. These sweet buns, also called zhavoronki, are baked in the shape of larks, as a symbol of harbinger of Spring. They honestly look and sound delicious!

“‘I still have the roll,’ I offered lamely, pulling the squashed, lint-covered lump from my pocket. It had been baked into the shape of a bird to celebrate the spring flocks, but now it looked more like a rolled-up sock.

Mal dropped his head, covering it with his hands, his elbows resting on his knees. His shoulders began to shake, and for a horrible moment, I thought he might be crying, but then I realised he was laughing silently. His whole body rocked, his breath coming in hitches, tears starting to leak from his eyes. ‘That better be one hell of a roll,’ he gasped.”

 Dinner at the Grand Palace in Os Alta doesn’t sound bad either!

 “The food was less alien than I’d expected, the kind of food we’d eaten on feast days at Keramzin: sweet pea porridge, quail roasted in honey, and fresh figs. I found I was hungrier than I’d ever been and had to resist picking up my plate to lick it.”


The Night Circus Erin Morgenstern 

The Night Circus is one of my all-time favourite books. Le Cirque des Rêves for me embodies everything that I love: from the food, to the attractions, and the palpable magic in the air. I was constantly imagining myself wandering its paths and weaving around the tents the whole time I was reading it, smelling the cider in the air and licking chocolate off my fingers. Just picture yourself eating some of these:

Caramel apples, black and white striped paper bag of chocolate or caramel covered popcorn, chocolate mice with almond ears and liquorice tails, cinnamon rolls covered in icing, spiced cocoa and cider.

“Apples dipped in caramel so dark they appeared almost blackened but remained light and crisp and sweet.”

One also cannot fail from mentioning Chandresh Christophe Lefèvres’ famous Midnight Dinners. They were famous for having no menus just to add to the experience, and while some dishes were recognizable, others were more enigmatic, hidden beneath sweet sauces or inside pastries. Chandresh himself admits that not knowing all the ingredients gives the dish life and ‘makes it more than the sum of its parts’.

Just to mention a few: quail, rabbit or lamb served on banana leaves or baked in apples, garnished with brand-soaked cherries, berries bursting with creams and liquors, figs dripping with honey, sugar blown into curls and flowers and pastries lighter than air.


Harry Potter J.K. Rowling

It wouldn’t be right to forget the very books that inspired this post! I guess we can all agree that J.K Rowling is a wordsmith goddess, able to infuse the mundane with a touch of her own kind of magic. So naturally, the food mentioned in the books are exquisite and bound to make you hungry just by reading about them. There’s also something comforting to read about all those overflowing and scrumptious dishes, maybe because they remind me of family gatherings, Christmas dinners or my mum’s cooking, with the mouth-watering smell permeating every room in the house.

So let’s start off with the infamous food trolley on the Hogwarts Express:

  • Chocolate Frogs
  • Liquorice Wands
  • Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans
  • Drooble’s Best Blowing Gum
  • Pumpkin pasties
  • Cauldron Cakes

The Hogwarts Feast is always bursting with the most delicious food imaginable:

“He had never seen so many thing he liked to eat on one table: roast beef, roast chicken, pork chops and lamb chops, sausages, bacon and steak, boiled potatoes, roast potatoes, fries, Yorkshire pudding, peas, carrots, gravy, ketchup, and for some strange reason, peppermint humbugs.”

“Blocks of ice cream in every flavour you could think of, apple pies, treacle tarts, chocolate eclairs and jam doughnuts, trifle, strawberries, Jell-O, rice pudding—“

Nothing can rival the Start-of-Term Feast, except maybe…the Christmas Feast! It mainly consisted of hundreds of fat, roast turkeys, mounds of roasted and boiled potatoes, platters of fat chipolatas, tureens of buttered peas, silver boats of thick, rich gravy and cranberry sauce. And for dessert, flaming Christmas puddings with silver sickles hidden within.

I also cannot fail from mentioning Hagrid’s jaw-breaking rock cakes; shapeless lumps with raisins that often broke their teeth! Or his infamous birthday cake he made especially for Harry on his eleventh birthday.

It’s a personal dream of mine to one-day taste Mrs. Weasley’s cooking! If only I could receive her homemade fudge and toffee for Christmas! And I think we can all agree that there is no one able to whip up a delicious feast like Molly Weasley!

By seven o’clock, the two tables were groaning under dishes and dishes of Mrs Weasley’s excellent cooking, and the nine Weasleys, Harry and Hermione were settling themselves down to eat beneath a clear, deep-blue sky. To somebody who had been living on meals of increasingly stale cake all summer, this was paradise, and at first, Harry listened rather than talked, as he helped himself to chicken-and-ham pie, boiled potatoes and salad.

A trip to Hogsmeade will often lead you to Honeydukes, a store bursting with the most delectable sweets ever! 

“There were shelves upon shelves of the most succulent-looking sweets imaginable. Creamy chunks of nougat, shimmering pink squares of coconut ice, fat, honey-coloured toffees; hundreds of different kinds of chocolate in neat rows; there was a large barrel of Every Flavour Beans, and another of Fizzing Whizzbees, the levitating sherbet balls that Ron had mentioned; along yet another wall were ‘Special Effects’ sweets: Drooble’s Best Blowing Gum (which filled a room with bluebell-coloured bubbles that refused to pop for days), the strange, splintery Toothflossing Stringmints, tiny black Pepper Imps (‘breathe fire for your friends!’), Ice Mice (‘hear your teeth chatter and squeak!’), peppermint creams shaped like toads (‘hop realistically in the stomach!’) , fragile sugar-spun quills and exploding bonbons.”

And if you’re feeling chilled to the bone, you can always visit Madam Rosmerta at the Three Broomsticks for a glass of Butterbeer, Firewhiskey, gillywater, mulled mead, red currant rum, or cherry syrup and soda with ice and an umbrella.


That’s it for today but I will definitely write another similar post soon! I’m just going to nip downstairs for a bite to eat now…because I’m starving!

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Summer Breeze

Summer Breeze

Summer is only a few days away but the sun has already started painting the world vividly by it’s rays. So blinding. So brilliant. I used to count down the days until this season started, mainly because it meant three whole months without thinking about school or homework. Now that I’m working however, it doesn’t feel much different from the other seasons. But then I remember those warm sunny days when I was a kid, many mornings spent at the beach, binging on ice-creams, licking our chocolate-covered fingers and digging our toes in the warm gritty sand. I used to spend hours reading in the shade of the trees, while my father worked in the fields nearby…and later coming home to the smell of my mother’s new recipe. I loved these simple moments and I plan on embracing them again this year.

I have already compiled a new playlist in anticipation for summer (that’s how excited I am!) and it is a combination of songs that I’ve been enjoying lately. I hope you do as well 🙂

Coins in a Fountain– Passenger

Headlights (Acoustic Version)– Katja Petri

Yellow Sun– Crystal Fighters

Illuminate– The Kite String Tangle, Dustin Tebbutt

Tiger Striped Sky– Roo Panes

Beaches– Gone in the Sun

Tenerife Sea– Ed Sheeran

Green Light– Lorde

Don’t Let It Pass– Junip

September Song– JP Cooper

Going to California– Led Zeppelin

Perfect Day– Lou Reed

Riptide– Vance Joy

Sunshine Gold– Sam the Astronaut

[Spotify]

 I would also like to share with you some of the books that I’m really looking forward to read this summer. I tried to include a mix of everything: poetry, classics, contemporaries, fantasy, short stories and even non-ficiton books. I hope I can manage to read them all…the summer heat is known to make me pretty lazy!!

x.

Beauty and the Beast // Book Tag

Beauty and the Beast // Book Tag

I was tagged by the lovely audreywritesabroad for the Beauty and the Beast Book Tag –  perfect timing since the movie adaptation is now in theatres! I cannot wait to see it…and I’m especially looking forward to see the magnificent library that I have dreamt about since I was a kid! So thank you so much Audrey! I’m tagging everyone who wants to do this .x.

(I do not know the original creator of this tag, but if you do let me know in the comments)


“Tale As Old As Time” – A popular theme, trope, or setting you will never get bored of reading

The Unexpected Hero: I love a good story where the main character learns something life-changing about his/herself and is ‘burdened’ with a quest…not necessarily to save the world, more so a quest of self-discover. I have to point out though that sometimes I get bored of this trope, especially if the author does not deal with it in a creative way. But this kind of setting gives more room for character development, and even more importantly, the reader grows along with the character.

“Belle”- A book bought for its beautiful cover that’s just as beautiful inside too

The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton

I mean…just look at the cover! It’s GORGEOUS! And this edition has a matte finish that makes it even more beautiful.

In a few words The Miniaturist is about: 17th Century Amsterdam, a miniature dollhouse, an unwanted marriage, a sharp-tongued sister, innumerable secrets…and of course, an elusive miniaturst!

TheMiniaturist

“Beast” – A book you didn’t expect much
from but pleasantly surprised you

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandell

I am not a huge fan of sci-fi/post-apocalyptic stories, so when a book from this genre becomes a favourite of mine, it is always a surprise! It is basically a story about survival, both in it’s literal sense, but essentially a story of survival in a community, revealing both the beauty and horrors of human interactions. I loved this book mostly because it takes on a different approach towards a post-apocalpytic story. The plot is not the focal point of the story but is merely there for us to get to know the characters better and to provide us with a different view of the world around us. I also loved how the book focused on the importance of art in its various forms and in the way it brings people together, be it a simple comic book or Shakespeare’s works.

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“Gaston” – A book everyone loves that you don’t

The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han

Whiny characters. An annoying love triangle. No signs of character development. A main character who loves to stick her tongue out to the point where you want to throw the book out the window. Unfortunately I made myself read all the books just so I would feel a little less guilty for buying the box set. [This is obviously my personal opinion]

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“Lefou” – A loyal sidekick you can’t help but
love more than their counterpart

Jules from Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

The story follows three sisters; three queens each with a distinctive gift, who are all heirs to the throne. But only one can reign. At the age of six they are separated and taken in by different families to grow and help them in their development of their gifts. Jules is part of the family that take in Queen Arsinoe. She is a loyal, strong and independent woman and I loved reading about her friendship with Arsinoe. I appreciated the fact that the book focuses a lot on Jules just as much as the queens…but I wouldn’t mind if Blake wrote a whole book just about her!

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“Mrs Potts, Chip, Lumière & Cogsworth” – A book that helped you through a difficult time or that taught
you something valuable

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

Milk and Honey is a collection of poems concerning various subjects but mainly love, loss, heartbreak, abuse and femininity. It is divided into four main parts that emphasise the journey the poet takes from hurting, loving, breaking and ultimately to healing. Rupi Kaur’s words hold so much emotion and meaning that no matter where you’re coming from, you connect with it from the very first page. I experienced everything with the author; I loved, I broke, got hurt and healed with her. Her words are very empowering and helped me love and accept myself the way I am. I have always been that kind of person who has never appreciated herself or loved herself fully. And these poems helped me realise that I have always put myself down and never truly respected my true self. I feel so lucky to have come across this book because it has been a huge eye-opener for me.

“you tell me
i am not like most girls
and learn to kiss me with your eyes closed
something about the phrase—something about 
how i have to be unlike the women
i call sisters in order to be wanted
makes me want to spit your tongue out
like i am supposed to be proud you picked me
as if i should be relieved you think
i am better than them”

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“Something there” – A book series that you weren’t into at first but picked up towards the end

The Grisha trilogy by Leigh Bardugo

The Grisha trilogy is a wonderful and fascinating series that took me quite a while to get into. I enjoyed Bardugo’s writing style and how she made the world seem almost real and tangible. However there were times where the writing lacked that distinctive element and felt slightly put off by it. Having said that, her writing grew and flourished with each book (and was close to perfect in Six of Crows). Also, Bardugo throws the reader into the story with a very short introduction to the world, something I initially found quite confusing, and hindered me from connecting with the story in the beginning. But it does get better and while it’s not the best series out there, it is definitely worth reading!

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“Be our guest” – A fictional character you’d
love to have for dinner

KAZ BREKKER. Dirtyhands. Lieutenant of the Dregs. The love of my life.