WWW Wednesday

After meaning to start doing WWW for quite a long while, I’ve finally jumped the gun. Yaay for me!

WWW Wednesday is hosted over at Taking on a World of Words and just involves answering the 3 Ws!


What are you currently reading?

Fighting For Rain  by BB Easton

What did you recently finish reading?

Wild at Heart by K. A. Tucker

The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver

Praying For Rain  by BB Easton

 

What do you think you’ll read next?

Dying For Rain by BB Easton

The Shadows Between Us by Tricia Levenseller

DNF Diary – January 2020

dnf diaries

Hello all! So, I’ve refrained from talking about my DNFs (books that I ‘Did not Finish’) on this blog thus far. That’s because I used to always try to finish a book no matter how painstaking it was. And I just never saw the point of talking about things I hate.

But I’ve consciously decided recently to be selective about what I read and be a little more nit-picky about my time. And I could only post one review in the last two weeks because the other books I read I had to DNF. If I can’t review them, I can at the very least talk about why I could not finish them!


Love Her or Lose Her by Tessa Bailey

DNF’d at 30%

Reason – A caveman who thinks that all a husband needs to do is provide for his wife and have sex with her. And voila! Happy marriage!

No attempts at meaningful conversations to try to learn why his wife left. But plenty of attempts at seduction and talks of providing for her. And she also conveniently melts into a puddle of goo with just a few dirty words. The reactions of all the characters were just unreal. I had hoped for a poignant story. It read like a shallow romcom. What a waste!

Enemies

 

Enemies by Tijan

DNF-d at 20%

Reason: I don’t even know why I picked this shit up. Reads like an angst-filled fanfiction I would have gobbled up when I was 14. No lie.

 


Would Like To Meet by Rachel Winters

DNF’d at 60%

Reason – This one’s definitely a case of ‘It’s me, not you’. It’s not necessarily a bad book. The protagonist basically goes out on blind dates to help the author in her agency get out of his writer’s block.

The plot was a little too outlandish and the protagonist insufferable. Her decisions and actions just got too much for me at a certain point. And I had to stop.

 

Inappropriate by Vi Keeland

DNF’d at 10%

Reasons – This was not my first read by this author. I wasn’t a fan of her writing style. So it’s not like I didn’t know what to expect. But I was in the mood for something light, funny and breezy. This book seemed like the obvious choice when I came across it. I had my reservations though. My reservations were right. Definitely not my type. It’s just a little too silly and unreal for my taste.

But clearly I’m not to be trusted here because loads of people love it. Another case of “It’s me, not you.”


So I think I was a little reckless in my reading choice in January. I wouldn’t have picked half of these books normally. This is what I get for feeling adventurous. Meh.

2019 END OF YEAR BOOK SURVEY

I just discovered Jamie’s End of Year Book Survey and how could I stop myself from doing this? Why would I? So, here I go.

2019 Reading Stats

Number of books you read: 105 (Okay. When I say 105, I’m not counting the books from previous years that I’ve reread this year)
Number of re-reads: 20 (Again, an approximation. I can surely say 20, but I think I’ve reread more)
Most read genre: Romance.

1. Best books you read in 2019:
Best Fantasy: Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo
Best Romance: Bringing Down the Duke by Evie Downmore
Best Historical fiction: The Beantown Girls by Jane Healey

2. Book you were excited about & thought you were going to love more but didn’t:
Well Met by Jen DeLuca.

3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read:
Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo. Didn’t expect to end up loving it this much.

4. Book you “pushed” the most people to read (and they did):
Lovely War by Julie Berry.

5. Best series you started in 2019. Best sequel of 2019. Best series ender of 2019.
Started: Veronice Speedwell series by Deanna Reybourn
Sequel: The Bride Test by Helen Hoang.
Ender: The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black.

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2019:
Evie Dunmore.

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone:
Reverse Harem is totally not my thing, and I don’t plan to get comfortable with this genre even. But I loved the All The Pretty Monsters series.

8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year:
The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black was really action packed.

9. Book you read in 2019 that you are most likely to re-read next year?
I’ve re-read a lot of them already and plan to do it again too. I think I re-read Bringing Down the Duke thrice.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2019:

11. Most memorable character of 2019:
Annabelle Archer from Bringing Down the Duke.

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2019:
Lovely War by Julie Berry.

13. Most thought-provoking/life-changing book of 2019:
Not life-changing. But thought provoking would be Love from A – Z by S. K. Ali.

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2010 to finally read:
Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman.

15. Favorite quote from a book you read in 2019:

“I’m not going to let your prejudice, your outrage, or fake kindness,
either, change one bit of me, of how I look, of who I am. Your resistance to my
existence is futile, okay?”

– Love from A – Z by S. K. Ali.

16. Shortest and longest books you read in 2019:
Untitled.png

17. Book that shocked you the most:
Queen of Nothing by Holly Black.

18. OTP of the year (you will go down with this ship!):
Sebastian and Annabelle from Bringing Down the Duke.

19. Favorite non-romantic relationship of the year:
The friendship between Fiona, Viviana and Dottie from The Beantown Girls. I want to be friends with these three!

20. Favorite book you read in 2019 from an author you’ve read previously:
There are a few of them. Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo for starters.

21. Best book you read in 2019 that you read based SOLELY on a recommendation from somebody else:
Miracle Creek by Angie Kim. Thanks to Meowread.

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2019:
Sebastian Devereux from Bringing Down the Duke.

23. Best 2019 debut you read:
Bringing Down the Duke by Evie Dunmore. Yes. I absolutely loved the book, if you couldn’t tell.

24. Most vivid setting you read this year:
Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo.

25. Book that put a smile on your face/was the most FUN to read:
The All the Pretty Monsters series. It’s wacky as hell. I laughed a lot while reading this crazy series.

26. Book that made you cry or nearly cry in 2019:
Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo.

27. Hidden gem of the year:
Lovely War by Julie Berry. This books deserves more love, y’all.

28. Book that crushed your soul:
Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid.

29. Most unique book you read in 2019:
Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid.

30. Book that made you the maddest (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it):
His Royal Highness by R. S. Grey. I was so disappointed by this and even more so because I had higher expectations after seeing some positive reviews. And I loved the author!

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2019:
I have quite a few new favorite book blogs. Difficult to name only one.

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2019:
It’s like asking me to choose from my children (not that I have any). But I’ll pingback to Book Review: Bringing Down the Duke because I had to muster a lot of self-restraint while writing it (even more than usual).

3. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog:
I don’t know about best but I talked about things I feel very strongly for on my post of  Quotes of the Week: Self Love, Prejudice & Feminism in Islam.

4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.):
Dhaka Lit Fest. Met some amazing people. Jan Blake is a legend FYI!

6. Most popular post this year on your blog (whether it be by comments or views):
Top Ten Tuesday : Favorite Books Released in the Last Ten Years.

8. Post you wished got a little more love:
All my posts. Hehe. I’m greedy like that.

9. Best bookish discovery (book related sites, book stores, etc.):
None that I can think of, honestly.

10. Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year:
I did. Goodreads Reading Challenge 2019. I had set the goal to 100 books.

1. Book you are most anticipating in 2020 (non-debut):
Right now The Map from Here to There by Emery Lord.

2. 2020 debut you are most anticipating:
You Deserve Each other by Sarah Hogle. For now anyway.

3. Sequel you are most anticipating in 2020:
A Rogue of One’s Own (A League of Extraordinary Women #2) by Evie Dunmore

4. One thing you hope to accomplish or do in your reading/blogging life in 2020?
Be a little more selective about my reading and make sure to never let reading feel like a chore, which I came close to in 2019.

How to Deal with a Reader’s Block

Hellooooo. So, I promised myself more than a month ago that I’d resume my blogging right away after a month of sickness and traveling. But ‘lo and behold, I couldn’t keep my promise. Why, you ask? A case of serious reader’s block! I can’t remember the last time I had such it this bad.

Thankfully, I’m beginning to get over the block slowly. So, I thought of doing a post on reader’s block. I’ll speak from my own experience of what I feel might be the reasons for a reader’s block and in what ways we can get out of it.


why

  • A string of DNFs: It’s difficult to pick up a new book when you’ve gone through a number of crappy books at a stretch. That happened to me too. I unfortunately made a series of bad decisions on my ARC requests on Netgalley. I DNF’ed quite a few of them.
  • Addiction to TV shows: So I picked up this addiction for Turkish TV shows – of all things – out of the blue. Right when I was going through a bout of crappy books. Whatta convenient timing. And then to top it off, I found myself rewatching some of my favorite Korean shows. Basically what I did for half of the November month.
  • Addiction to gaming: So, one lazy day, I discovered that my brother hadn’t uninstalled Far Cry 4 from the desktop at our house. And voila! I started playing the game 24/7. I spent nearly 2 weeks on finishing the game!
  • A rough patch: When you’re having a rough patch in life and there are too many things to stress about, it’s certainly not easy to pick up a book let along get engrossed in it. Thankfully, the reader’s block this time wasn’t due to a rough patch.

I should mention that the first 3 things happened to me chronologically to me this time. And that’s why the reader’s block was so serious! I have a one-track mind. Once I get obsessed about something, it’s quite difficult to get me off that. Meh.


cure

  • Rereading favorites: Rereading your favorite books is always a good trick to rediscover your love for reading. Especially when you have read only crappy books in the recent past, it always helps to reread a book that you loved. And although at the beginning of this reader’s block, it was a struggle even getting myself to pick up an old favorite, I made a conscious effort to try reading even a few pages from my favorites when I could. And that’s really helped me regain my enthusiasm!
  • Audiobooks: Audiobooks are also an effective way of countering a reader’s block. You could listen to an audiobook while commuting or doing your chores. It’s helped me in the past to feel keen enough to pick up the book and read it. But this time I couldn’t even muster the time and effort to do that.
  • Watching screen adaptations: Whenever I watch a screen adaptation of a book and find myself enjoying it, I get a strong urge to read the book. Even if I’ve read the book before, I’ll feel nostalgic to revisit the book!
  • Being selective with ARC requests: This last one is more of a preventive measure rather than a cure. I’ve consciously decided to request fewer ARCs from now on.

I recently realized that having such a huge backlist of ARCs made reading feel like a chore over the past few months. And that’s the last thing I wanted when I had decided to start blogging. So I might read fewer books now and post fewer reviews, but at least I won’t be treating this as a chore.

I’ll be honest. This post didn’t come to me easy.  My writing feels a little rusty now and it took some effort to churn this out. But I can’t explain how refreshing it feels now to have written this post!

But I’d love to know how you deal with reader’s block. This whole slump has left me even more appreciative of  book bloggers out there who’ve been churning out book reviews for years now! So please leave comments and let me know about your experiences of a reader’s block.

Happy Reading!

UPDATE: I’m Back From the Unannounced Hiatus


Umm, hello guys!

So in case you didn’t notice, I was AOL for the past month or so on my blog. And I’ve got a thesis submission, a last-minute family trip and a flu to thank for that. But thankfully, life’s back to the same old stability right now.

I plan to go back to regular updates to the blog. Now I have a enormous backlist of books to catch up to. But it’s good to be back. I missed the community. I missed reading all the amazing bloggers.

So yeah, that’s all for my update.

 

 

BLOGVERSARY : ONE YEAR OF MY BLOGGING JOURNEY!

Hello all! So it has now officially been a year since I started my blogging journey! I started blogging with a some apprehension, a little hesitance, and lots of nervousness. It was an impulsive decision and I was clueless about what would come of it.

I still remain clueless. But with each day, I only grow gladder that I decided to take the leap of faith. And it’s only because of you guys! This community has been so welcoming and inspiring since day one! I couldn’t be any more grateful.

Blogging hasn’t always been easy. It’s been a struggle at times to come up with reviews on books, or posting regularly at times. But at the end of the day, blogging has only made me a better reader. It’s made me more introspective about the books I read.

The best thing about this journey has been that I could share my reading experiences with everyone. I’ve learned a lot about myself, gotten some great book recommendations, and got acquainted with some amazing people!

I still have a lot to learn and much to improve, of course. And I hope you guys will be there to keep inspiring me throughout it all.

Now some GIFs to express what words can’t!

 

 

Happy reading, everyone!


 

TAG : THE ZODIAC CHALLENGE

Sara tagged me for the Zodiac Challenge. While I don’t believe in zodiacs but I still like to have fun with them. Moreover, this challenge is Disney movie themed. Who can say no to that?

The one thing I learned from this tag is that Sara hates being late and isn’t a big fan of Alice in the Wonderland. Well, I guess that makes two things!


Rules:

  • tag the creators @bookprincessreviews
  • share one thing you learned about the person who tagged you
  • for each prompt say who matches your zodiac and if they fit your personality/likes/dislikes
  • tag at least two other bloggers you want to get to know better

WHO AM I?

Moana! I’m not as adventurous as Moana. Nor am I as headstrong. But I have a fear of disappointing my family just like her.

WHO DO I LOVE?

Prince Charming! That works, I guess. Because he’d be committed to me just after one meeting. And what girl doesn’t want a committed guy? I’m also loyal to the fault!

WHO’S MY BEST FRIEND?

Pegasus! Pegasus is an extremely protective friend. That works for me because even I have a strong sense of protectiveness towards my friends.

WHAT’S MY BIGGEST WEAKNESS?

Doctor Facilier. I’ll be honest. I watched The Princess & The Frog ages ago and although I remember the villain, I couldn’t remember his name. Meh! But I do also remember that he was a cunning and power hungry. I’m neither. But I am afraid of being powerless or helpless like him. So I guess that’s my weakness!


I Tag

Brianna |


I had fun doing this! So if you wanna try it too, go ahead and let me know!

TAG : 25 Bookish Facts About Me

Hello everyone! I’m back with a tag. And you know how much I love doing them? This time, it’s 25 Bookish Thoughts About me. I was tagged by the lovely Rebecca @ bookishlyrebecca. I love her blog! She always comes up with really interesting posts in addition to her amazing reviews. You absolutely should check out her blog if you haven’t!

Before I start, fair warning – I might get carried away with my rambling.


1. I was primarily a comic fan when I was young. I used to love Tintin, Asterix and even Archies!

2. My love for books started with Harry Potter. My brother first handed me Prisoner of Azkaban when I was in grade 6. I couldn’t make head or tails out of that book and returned it to him with disdain. The next day, he gives me The Sorcerer’s Stone. The rest as they say is history.

3. I confess to having been a avid fanfiction reader. In fact, after falling in love with Harry Potter, instead of moving to new books, I moved to Harry Potter fan-fiction. I specifically got obsessed with Dramione. Don’t judge me! I was an angsty teenager, okay?

4. I grew my affinity for enemies-to-lovers trope mainly because of Dramione. It was through Dramione fanfics that I discovered or rather grew my love for the enemies-to-lovers trope even till this date.

5. I went through an obsessive Manga reading phase for a year or two. I think I read 10 manga that year. I slowly lost interest due to the long waits between the chapters and some manga being dragged too much. I’m looking at you, Naruto.

6. I used to love detective novels growing up. I was a sucker for Sherlock Holmes and other local detective novels.

7. I could never get into Agatha Christie for some reason even though I loved detective and suspense novels so much! Something that my friends gave me a lot of grief over.

8. I have grown this habit of reading mainly e-books and being selective about physical copies. I only buy paperbacks whose e-books I have already read and enjoyed a lot. I also pre-order books by my favorite authors who I trust to never disappoint me.

9. I buy hardbacks only for collection. I end up giving away my paperbacks for books that I liked but not wouldn’t care to hoard.

10. I need a paperback with me when I’m traveling. For some reason, whenever I’m traveling, I can’t make do with e-books only. I need a paperback with me. My backpack always feels incomplete without a book. So, at the cost of pissing my mother off, I always carry a book when I travel.

11. I’m very lazy about updating my bookstagram. I opened it with so much enthusiasm and I wonder where it all went. It’s probably been more than a month since I last updated it.

12. I can never sustain interest for dark romance or eroticas. I sometimes get these moods to read dark romances or erotic novels but if I cave in to those moods, I end up losing interest halfway through the book, most of the times. So now I rarely ever read those genres.

13. I never start a book if I have a short window of time for reading. I don’t like taking very long to finish a book unless it’s so boring that I can’t help myself. I am a fast reader and more often than not, can finish a book in one sitting.

14. A foolproof way of getting me to start a book would be to get me to watch its screen adaptation and enjoy it. If I like a movie or TV show, then there’s 101% chances of me checking out its book right away.

15. It’s tough being a reader of foreign literature in my country. One of the biggest things I dislike about living in my country is how troublesome it is to find some books locally or how expensive they are. If I want a new book that’s not too hyped or the author not too popular then it’s very difficult to find them in the bookshops here. We don’t even have Amazon here, but rather third parties who we have to order through and the shipping costs are unbelievably high! Another reason, I don’t usually buy physical copies of all the books I read. Reading is an expensive habit for sure.

16. Because of this habit being expensive, I had a phase in my teenage years when I would illegally download e-books to read them in my desktop. I know. That was horrible of me. But I think as a punishment for that, I ended up being the only person in my family who has to wear glasses (as I would stay up late and secretly read those e-books with lights turned off). Also, I ended up owning paperbacks of those e-books later on. So I hope that makes up for it.

17. I have started refraining from starting series that are not finished. It’s a torture starting unfinished series and waiting for the next books to come out.

18. Witty banter in a book is my weakness. Nothing gives makes my heart leap in joy than seeing characters engage in banter in a book. In fact, that’s what made me fall in love with a book like Gone with The Wind, in the first place. That banter between Rhett and Scarlett makes me want to pick up the book again.

19. I can read a book at any place but it needs there needs to be silence. I hate it when there’s talking in background when I’m reading. I need it to be totally silent or maybe at times, music of my choice playing in the background.

20. My favorite reading position is lying down. I love nothing more than lying on my bed and reading.

21. I rarely DNF a book. I might skim over some parts if it bores me. But I rarely DNF it. A book has to be absolutely horrible for me to DNF it.

22. I always start writing a review right after I’m done with a book. That’s one of the reasons I started blogging in the first place because I needed a platform or medium to vent about my feelings about a book right after reading it.

23. I like flawed characters. Characters with grey shades always interest me more than characters who are written to be perfect or self-righteous.

24. I can never say no to a friends-to-lovers trope. I used to love enemies-to-lovers initially. But I grew to prefer friends-to-lovers more. There’s something about the feeling of longing and confusion that appeals to me about this trope.

25. I love buying books as gifts. Books are the best gifts, okay? Both for giving and receiving. Well, next to chocolates, of course.

I won’t be tagging anyone. But please feel free to do this post if you’re interested. What’s the biggest bookish fact about you? Do let me know in the comments below!

2 Monthversary Special: Raya Asks – Audiobooks

Hello, everybody! Yesterday marked two months of my blogging journey. I started this blog on the 24th of August. I can’t believe it’s already been 2 months! I know it might not be that special to many people. I mean, 2 months is like a blip in the larger scheme of things. But I’ve had such a great time in the past 2 months just because of this blog and the love you’ve given to it! It still amazes me to think that people actually read my ramblings! I wanted to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you who has ever taken the time to comment on, like or read my blog! You have no idea what that means to me!

So, I thought of doing something different to celebrate my third month into blogging. Tada! here’s my first interactive post! I was a bit peevish previously to try this as I thought nobody would be interested. But look what two months has done to my confidence! I feel brave enough to try new things. More specifically, a new feature – Questions!

I haven’t been able to read as much as usual in the past 2 weeks because of recently starting a new internship. That, in addition to my final semester at Grad School and Master’s thesis is leaving me too tired to make time or energy for my reads. And I thought of branching more into audiobooks as a result. Now, I’m still comparatively a beginner when it comes to audiobooks and I need suggestions!

So, here’s my question –

What Are Your Top Favorite Audiobooks?

Now, I’m open to all genres. But I’m currently in the mood for listening to anything along the lines of contemporary or romance. (Because I’ve mainly listened to fantasy audiobooks so far). I wouldn’t even mind listening to a book I’ve already read as long as I liked the book and the narration does justice to it.

P.S. I might make this a weekly interactive thing where I ask you about more bookish recommendations, depending on your responses to this post.  I might change the name, though. Using my name in third person comes off as a bit pretentious. Heh.

Anyhow, looking forward to you recommendations!

 

Top Ten Tuesday : Villains

I skipped it last week because I didn’t really have any honest input to give on the topic. But this week’s Top Ten Tuesday is right up my alley! Top Ten villains (Favorite, best, worst, lovable, creepiest, most evil, etc)? Here we go!

Btw, Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly blog meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Check her blog out!


Favorite Villain – Victor Vale

I love Victor Vale. In fact, in my reviews for Vicious and Vengeful, I spend half the time raving about how much I love Victor. Probably one of the best written characters in contemporary fiction.

Lovable Villain – Lothaire

What an anti-hero! He made me laugh, pull my hairs in frustration, feel sorry for him, swoon, all at the same time. He might not have been the villain of his own story but he sure made lives of everyone else hell.

Fascinating Villain – Amarantha

Court of Thorns And Roses was a generic story until Amarantha appeared. Of course, I give half the credit to Rhys, but Amarantha gave the story the edge it required. I found her quite fascinating and probably wouldn’t mind seeing more of her.

Misunderstood Villain – Severus Snape

He might have turned to be not quite the villain in the end. But that still doesn’t change what a bully he’d been. It was his own decisions that cost him his love. He was the maker of his own misery.

Pitiable Villain – Gollum

Jamie Beswarick

No villain in Lord of the Rings series creeped me out more than him. But he’s also one of the most pitiable villains of the series. I can’t think of any other character that I found equally pitiable and creepy.

 

Mysterious Villain – Roland

Roland was such an unpredictable villain. I didn’t know what to feel for him half the time. He was only a name for most of the series and when he does appear at the later half, he is mysterious enough to live up to his reputation.

Shady Villain – Mrs. Danvers

Mrs. Danvers from Rebecca made my hairs rise the moment we meet her. She was creepy as hell. She’s an iconic villain, really. Although, a lot of people might claim that Rebecca had a much more powerful presence in the book even in her absence. But it was Mrs. Danvers who helped Rebecca’s shadows stand out.

Creepiest Villain – Hannibal Lecter

No doubt about this one. Anthony Hopkins also deserves credit for this. His was one of the most creepiest portrayals of a villain in any movie. When I decided to read the books after the movie, I kept imagining Anthony Hopkins whenever Hannibal Lecter appeared. And that amplified the effect of the character for me.

Despicable Villain – Dolores Umbridge

Harry Potter had quite a large number of villains. But, Umbridge takes the cake for me! She had my skin crawling whenever she appeared. I found myself hating her a lot more than Voldemort, if that can be believed.

Most Evil Villain – Lord Voldemort

You know how people say that nobody is born evil? Lord Voldemort defies that theory. He was simply born evil. I couldn’t think of a more evil villain if I tried. He might even be the best/worst villain I’ve read. The Harry Potter series might as well be about Lord Voldemort as much as it’s about Harry Potter, that’s how powerful this villain was.


Three entries from Harry Potter. I probably need to read more books with villains. And I’m counting on the TTT entries by everyone else for recommendations of more great villains!