It’s been a while… again

I think it’s time to accept the fact that I have serious commitment issues when it comes to blogging as it has been seven months since my last post hahaha. I’m not even going to promise to post regularly because let’s face it, that’s not going to happen. ūüėõ It’s nice to come back here every now and then though, like returning to my own little quiet corner of the internet.

Anyway, I went to the library today and borrowed the following books:

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(My bookshelf is currently overflowing with books so I’ll have to settle for taking pictures on my bed for now. Heh.)
  1. Mind Games, Teri Terry
  2. Afterworld, Lynnette Lounsbury
  3. Children of Earth and Sky, Guy Gavriel Kay
  4. The Dragon’s Path,¬†Daniel Abraham

I’ll be writing reviews for all these books so stay tuned in the next few weeks.

Also …. HAPPY NEW YEAR, FRIENDS! I was actually overseas for a month and barely had internet connection so I couldn’t send you my greetings. Here’s to another amazing year of books and happiness!

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Supa(fun)nova

I went to Supanova for the first time yesterday, and guess what?!

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(my face was doing a weird excited thing)

I MET ANNE BISHOP. NO BIG DEAL. JUST ANOTHER ORDINARY DAY IN THE LIFE OF MOI.

Ermergerd. I got my copy of Marked In Flesh signed and asked her what inspired her to start the series. She said she started to think about what kind of world it’d be if animals turned into humans and not the other way around, and it evolved from there. I told her that I only just recently discovered her work and am obsessed. With a smile, she said I’ll be happy to know that she brought in the last book in the series, Etched In Bone, earlier this year in March so it should be coming soon! AHHHHH. I STILL CAN’T BELIEVE IT!

Tamora Pierce was also there but guysssss, the line was so long and I had to get home. ūüė¶ I was honestly so bummed out because TAMORA PIERCE!!!!¬† but it couldn’t be helped. I felt a little better when I got home. I’m hoping I’ll get another opportunity to meet her and tell her how much the Lioness Quartet changed my life.

The other authors in attendance were:

ian-Irvine-Profile-BAlison-Goodman-Profile-Version-AKeri-Arthur-Profile-BJustin-Wooley-Profile-Version-DMaria-Lewis-Profile-Version-A(images from Supanova)

I haven’t read any of these author’s books, save for¬†Ian Irvine’s¬†Vengeance which I never got around to finishing, so I didn’t visit them.


Kudos to my little brother, the real MVP, who came along with me. My friends were busy so we went together. He’s the reason why I actually have pictures to post and look at because I’m not a photo-taking person in general, lol. And he was very patient waiting in the lines with me, even if, in Tamora’s case, we waited an hour only to leave without seeing her. He also didn’t get anything even though I insisted (big sister always pays. Aren’t I just the best? ūüėĚ) but he’s more into gaming than books/movies/tv shows. I just really appreciated his company yesterday. Gonna make it up to him by taking him to the EB Games Expo in September. We’re gonna fun so much fun! Overwatch goodies, anyone?

Anyway, here are the three things I bought from Supanova:

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Pop! Vinyls of Drogon, Rhaegal and Viserion
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Hogwarts Scarf
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Deathly Hallows bracelet

The first two are from Popcultcha and the bracelet is from Nine Lives Handmade Gifts.


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View outside my window

It’s a rainy, gloomy winter day here in Sydney, so I’m gonna head off and hide in my bed!

 

 

So this happened…

After literally¬†half a year¬†of debating with myself, I finally bought a Kindle Paperwhite! I’ve put it off for so long that I had to take a friend with me to my local Officeworks¬†so I wouldn’t back out. If I had gone on my own, I would’ve found reasons not to buy it. Having a friend with me meant that I felt obliged to buy it so that I wasn’t wasting her time by dragging her around with me. ūüėõ

It’s my first ever e-reader and I’m pretty darn excited about it. I was actually about to get the Voyage (the new Oasis wasn’t even an option) but I figured there wasn’t much of a difference between it and the Paperwhite to justify the extra cost, plus I’m definitely still going to use physical books more often. It’s just nice to know I can keep hundreds of books in a small device for when I travel. I also want to get more into netgalley and my experience with reading e-books on my phone wasn’t that great.

On the Kindle, I’m currently reading The Girl in the Box series by Robert J. Crane which is a free set. Still need to recover from the purchase. Heh.


Do you own an e-reader? Do you prefer physical copies or e-books?

 

The Liebster Award

I’ve been nominated for the Liebster Award by Green Onion’s blog.I was honestly not expecting it, but am extremely honoured and humbled all the same.¬†Head on over to his blog for both comic book and novel reviews!

THE RULES:
1)  Thank the blogger who nominated you.
2)  Answer the eleven questions provided by your nominator.
3)  Nominate up to eleven other bloggers yourself.  Remembering that the point is to promote new bloggers, so aim for those with 200 followers or less.
4)  Let those other bloggers know that you’ve nominated them.
5)  Provide those bloggers with eleven questions of your own for them to answer.
6)  Lastly, it’s considered good form to post an image of the award.


1. What prompted you to start your blog?

There were two reasons, which are both connected. University had kind of sucked my soul dry so after receiving news that I’d passed my degree and was about to graduate, I spent the next few months pretty much doing nothing. Eventually, the dread of not having a job and wasting my life away began to bubble in the pit of my stomach and it made me start thinking of better days when I didn’t have to worry about ~adult~ things. It also reminded me of how much I used to get excited over books and reading. I had only read a handful of books each year during university, as opposed to the near hundreds every year during high school, so I thought it’d be a good idea to start a book blog in order to spark that enthusiasm again. It’s not like I had anything better to do. ūüėõ


2. What inspired you to write your blog on the topics you have chosen?

Books played a huge part in my life as a child and has shaped/continues to shape the person I am today. If you took away all of my book-related experiences, I would become a shell of a person. I moved to a foreign country when I was young and books became¬†both my education and refuge. I genuinely think that if I had stayed in my home country, I would never¬†have discovered the joy of reading, which is a thought that scares me ūüėź If there’s something I can write about, it’s books.


3. Do you hold yourself to a schedule as a writer?  How often do you write your blog?

This question hurts me because I wish I was dedicated enough to have a schedule lol. My novel has been in the works for three years and I’m no where near the end. I’m trying though, but I’m starting to suspect I have a fear of the blank page! As for my blog, I do most of my writing on the weekends because of work.


4. What are some issues or causes that are important to you, and why?

I’ve been a volunteer for the St. Vincent de Paul Society¬† ¬†for a¬†couple of years and love what they do and stand for, whether it be providing funds and services for the homeless and impoverished of the community, or even just being a companion to lean on. This link will bring you to the Australian Vinnies homepage¬†(Australians love to shorten words like this). I strongly believe¬†that if we want the world to be a better place, we have to start in our own backyards.¬†I’ve met so many amazing people from all walks of life and if anything, it’s a great grounding experience.¬†I think¬†volunteering in your local community is something everyone should try at least once in their life.


5. Name one fictional protagonist that is important to you and why.

Alanna from the Song of the Lioness Quartet by Tamora Pierce.  I read these books when I was 8/9 and Alanna became everything I wanted to be. She made me feel more confident, stronger, and like I could achieve anything I dreamed of, no matter what the rest of the world might think.


6. Who is your favorite fictional antagonist, and why?

I honestly don’t have one. Maybe I just haven’t read enough books yet? No antagonist really stands out to me.


7. Name one story you believe everyone should read, and why.

As if it isn’t obvious enough that I’m in love with this book (see: header) and haven’t been raving about it to everyone and their mum, but I believe everyone should read¬†The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson because HELL YES for a book that moves you on a visceral level.


8. Have you encountered any challenges with your blog since you began writing for an online audience?

Absolutely. No one told me it would take so much work! Ha. Everyone else makes it look so easy. I literally didn’t write a single thing for five months and am only now trying to get back into it with the goal of putting up a post every three days (which I still find challenging. This post is a day late, too.). I don’t know how everyone else manages to do it? It kind of makes me regret not thinking of making a blog when I was in high school. I read¬†so¬† much that I would’ve had plenty of content to post, especially since I had more time and energy. Work can get so tiring.


9. What has been most rewarding about your blogging experience?

Just the fact that I can make things and share my thoughts with people all over the world is rewarding enough. I feel a sort of personal statisfaction, like: yes. I can do things! And people like what I do! hahaha


10. Is there a principle or philosophy that guides your writing?  If so, what is it?

I write like no one’s ever gonna read it. This makes my writing honest but it also serves to get rid of my perfectionist habits. I’m usually never satisfied with what I write so it’s nice to sometimes approach things with a “screw it” attitude. Better to have complete shit than no shit at all, I say.


11. What has been your favorite blog as a reader, and why?  And can you share?

I honestly love going through Louise’s blog @geniereads because not only does she have plenty of great content, but there’s something about her blog that’s just so aesthetically pleasing¬†haha.


The very deserving people (aka people whose blogs I lurk through on a daily basis) I’ve nominated are:

Shruti @ thisislitblog, Liam @ Hey Ashers!, May @ Sunsets and Bookfests and Maggie from In A Reading World

You guys don’t have to do this, but know that I appreciate your blogs and the content you post up. ūüôā

My questions are:

  1. What’s the story behind the name of your blog?
  2. Where is your favourite place to read?
  3. Do you prefer to buy paperbacks or hardcovers?
  4. If you could choose one book or series to be perfectly adapted as a TV show/movie, which would it be?
  5. Which is your favourite cliché young adult book trope?
  6. Favourite opening line? If you don’t have one, what is your favourite book quote?
  7. If you could publish one piece of non-fiction work, what would it be and why? What would the title be?
  8. What are you currently reading?
  9. Are there books on your shelves that you haven’t read?
  10. What’s your favourite bookstore?
  11. If you had to choose a topic other than books to dedicate your blog to, what would it be?

Shruti¬†@¬†thisislitblog¬†also nominated me for this award, so I’d like to extend my thanks to her too. She posts great reviews and bookish content regularly, so check out her blog! I’ll be posting my answers to her set of questions some time soon.

The book peek

The other day a man sat near me in the break room holding a book. Naturally, as inconspicuously as I could, I tried to look over at what he was reading. Not inconspicuously enough, because a co-worker sitting in front of me asked me what I was doing. Apparently my eyes looked like they were going to disappear into the side of my head. ūüėā

I can’t be the only one, right? Whenever I spot someone in my vicinity with a book in their hands, I try to take a peek at what they’re reading. Name a method — I’ve probably done it. The three that I’ve used commonly are:

THE TRAFFIC CONGESTOR

I’m that person who’s impeding the flow of pedestrian traffic because I’ve slowed down trying to take a peek at a passers-by’s book. More often than not, this happens when I’m taking public transport which is the best place to catch another book-lover other than the book store, library, or park. During peak hour, it’ll be the thing that prevents me from getting a seat because I was too focused on my mission lol. The people around me are also probably thinking along these lines:

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THE ASSIST

reactiongifs spy spying binoculars

I have terrible eyesight even with my glasses, but if there’s a friend around and a book that’s too distant to be peeked at,¬†I’ll ask them to have a look. My close friends are used to this request already, so I don’t get any weird looks. Shout out to you guys. You’re the real¬†MVPs.


THE SCREW IT

I’m quite the introvert, but nothing gets me out of my shell like the sight of someone reading. I can’t help but feel an automatic connection with them. Like: yes, friend! Book friend! Bless you, friend! It’s like I’m a foreigner in a strange land who’s spotted someone of my race. Sometimes the urge to know just burns so deep I can’t help but act on it, so five times out of ten, if the person is near me, I’ll strike up a conversation with them about the book they’re reading. Because I understand the pain of being bothered mid-read, I’ll usually keep it short, but every now and then it blossoms into a lovely conversation about books.

friends books the middle axl heck brick heck

It happened quite recently actually, in the same break room. I’d noticed this person come in with the same book for a couple of weeks now. Started a conversation with him. Turns out he was reading We Are Pirates by¬†Daniel Handler a.k.a Lemony Snicket and we ended up sharing our memories of reading A Series of Unfortunate events.¬†It’s always fun connecting with a stranger over similar interests!


My question is: Are you guilty of the book peek?

Library picks

I went to the library on Sunday afternoon and picked up a few books. It’s one of the best times to go because it’s just so¬†peaceful.

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My pretty, local library.

I’ve learned my lesson from previous library visits that if I get too excited, I’ll borrow too much, which reduces the likelihood of me reading them all. So here are the three I’ve chosen:

  • The Warded Man by Peter V. Brett
  • Those Above by Daniel Polanksy
  • Blood Song by Anthony Ryan

I’ve already read a few chapters of The Warded Man and am enjoying it so far. I’m trying to put off finishing Words of Radiance for as long as I can because I don’t think I can¬†bear the pain of waiting until the third book comes out…

 

“People still go to libraries?”

So there I was, reading during my hour break at work, when my boss looked over at the book I was reading. He noticed the library barcode on the front cover and, surprised, ask me the question: “People still go to libraries?”

My immediate response was confusion. For some reason, in that space of a second when the words registered in my brain, I thought to myself,¬†well, duh. Where else would you find books?¬†Of course,¬†bookstore, was being whispered in the back of my head, but I couldn’t — can’t —¬†fathom the thought of people¬†not¬†going to the library. Going to the library every other weekend is such an integral part of my life. I guess it’s the same way I feel about reading in general. Like, what else are people supposed to do for fun?

With all these thoughts racing in my head, all I could really say was: “Yes.”

Arthur
Truer words have never been spoken.

Recently, I’ve noticed a trend. Going to the bookstore seems to be more acceptable — for lack of better description — than going to the library. If you go to a bookstore, you’ll look cool and ~cultured~, but if you go to the library, you’re seen in a more nerdy/geeky light. I literally got given a “wow, that’s weird” look from a reader (albeit one who doesn’t read as often as they used to) when I told them that I like to borrow books first. If I really like it, I’ll buy it to put on my shelf so I can reread it again. I guess it’s that part of me that wants to make sure my money is going to something that I like instead of a book having to join my pile of spontaneous, not-so-loved purchases.

Maybe I’m being a little defensive. I guess as times are changing, when everything is readily available at our fingertips, libraries can seem a little redundant.

But I mean, c’mon guys!¬†Pretty much the only difference between a bookstore and a library ¬†is that the latter¬†is free.¬†FREE BOOKS.¬†Who doesn’t love free books? Don’t even get me started on the smell. It’s a truly magical experience. ūüėõ It just rubs me the wrong way when¬†people who read (my boss included. He’s mentioned a few times that he reads books.) regard library-goers like an alien species.


Do you exclusively buy books without having first read them? Or do you borrow before you buy? What’s your style?

The Book Monsters tag

Calliope the book goddess tagged me in the Book Monsters tag created by Beth from betwixtthesepages and I thought it would be fun to actually do it!

The Rules:

‚ÄďHave fun with this! ¬†I used mythological creatures in my post, but you are free to use any monsters or beasties you‚Äôd like!
‚ÄďBe sure to put a link to each artwork in your post somewhere, so the artists get recognition.
‚ÄďYou don‚Äôt HAVE to state why you picked each pair, but I‚Äôd love to know your reasons (if you have any)!
‚ÄďTag people at the end or don‚Äôt, it‚Äôs up to you! ¬†Though I‚Äôd love if you did, to keep this tag going.
‚ÄďMake sure you link back to Betwixt these Pages, so I can see your posts!


PHOENIX | The Song of the Lioness Quartet by Tamora Pierce

¬† –> ¬†Alanna: The First Adventure (Song of the Lioness, #1)

The immortal bird that is cyclically reborn. The books that I reread every two years, and are just as magical as¬†the first¬†time. This is ¬†a series that’ll stay close to my heart for many more years down the road.


 

MINOTAUR | A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin

¬† ¬†–> ¬†¬†A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, #1)

Because just like the labyrinth it’s associated with, it can be confusing and takes patience to get through.


PEGASUS | Time of the Eagle by Sherryl Jordan

¬† ¬†–>¬†¬†Time of the Eagle (Secret Sacrament, #2)

Magical and breathtaking in so many ways… This book still haunts me seven years later. It’s a good thing that this book tag reminded me of it because now I really want to read it again and buy it and maybe have a good cry. ūüėõ


 

ANGEL | The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson

¬† –> The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive, #1)

I’m obviously still on a high from this book (let’s be real, it’s hard not to be). The Way of Kings and it’s characters makes me want to be a better person. Like I should be out there saving the world and helping people.


 

CHIMERA | Zeroes by Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan, and Deborah Biancotti

¬† –> ¬†Zeroes (Zeroes, #1)

Perhaps one is better than three. As much as I love superheroes, this much-anticipated collaboration fell a little flat for me and I never ended up finishing it. Maybe I should give it another chance…


There you have it! Book Monster tag done and dusted. I tag anyone who wants to have a go at it. ūüôā

Mini Book Banners for The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson

These took longer to make than I had hoped mostly because I had trouble fitting Brandon Sanderson’s name and finding something that would mimic the look of the swirly stuff on the alternate cover’s title… but I’m quite happy with how they turned out. ūüôā

The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson

The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson
The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson
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My mini book banners pages has also been updated and I’m currently taking requests! Let me know if there’s a book you’d like to be turned into a mini banner and I’ll¬†put it in the queue although I can’t guarantee being able to do it right away.

BOOK REVIEW | The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive #1) by Brandon Sanderson

Fantasy, philosophy, politics, action, compelling characters. In my later days of teenhood, I realised that this was, for me, my holy formula. All the ingredients necessary to create the Perfect Book. I found this in the A Trial of Blood and Steel series by Joel Shepherd, and in George R. R. Martin’s¬†Game of Thrones, but never in my life¬†has a book left me so viscerally and profoundly satisfied in the way (heh) that the Way of Kings has.

5 stars

I was first introduced to Brandon Sanderson through a friend who recommended me Warbreaker. I remember the first two things about his writing that I was deeply impressed with: his detailed world-building (including a unique magic system), and complex characters. I witnessed this once again in Steelheart (which I still haven’t finished, much to my own dismay), and now here, in the first book of the Stormlight Archives. They say that three time’s a charm, so I guess it would be appropriate for me to say that¬†Brandon Sanderson is a master.

And he has now become one of my favourite authors.

No joke, kids. This book was so damn good it made me want to buy ALL THE THINGS related to Brandon Sanderson. All his books, all the merch.¬†Merch. This, coming from one of the world’s most frugal¬†twenty-something. I mean sure, I’ll overspend on books. But me wanting to buy merch just goes to show how much of an impression this has left on me.

Stormlight hoodie, anyone?

First, to get the negatives out of the way. Yes, there are negatives, but obviously not enough to dampen the five star rating.

  • Overwhelming introduction. There is¬†a lot¬†of noun usage throughout the book but it’s most confusing in the beginning when you’re just starting out. Desolations, Shardplates, Voidbringers … it’s enough to make your head spin. Granted, I haven’t read a high fantasy book of this magnitude (over 1,000 pages!) in a while. It was only until the very end of the book that I had a good grasp of most of the concepts, except maybe for Desolations. I’m still unsure what that is exactly…
  • Awkward wittiness. Some of the lines by Shallan and Wit come off awkwardly and almost a little forced. For Shallan this mostly happened in the beginning of the book but flows much better when she starts to use the logic that she’s learned in tandem with her wit. For Wit, the awkwardness happens in a feast scene, where he greets Brightlords and Brightladies with insults.

Now for the positives!

  • The characters. Boy oh boy, where do I even begin? The characters are¬†definitely the highlight of this book. One could even argue that this first installment was less about plot and more about developing the characters that will be central to this saga. I mean, this is going to be a 10 book series. That requires commitment. Fortunately, Sanderson has given me a reason to¬†care,¬†a reason to¬†stay.¬†The two standouts for me would have to be Kaladin and Dalinar.

Kaladin, the surgeon’s son, spearmaster, slave, bridgeman … and maybe something more. What I love most is how Sanderson uses flashbacks to layer his story and shows us how he came to be the person that he is.¬†Though often drenched in misery, Kaladin’s¬†arc is perhaps the most satisfying as you witness him navigate both his internal and external conflicts towards a climax that is the most blood-pumping,¬†triumphant,¬†exhilarating¬†moment of my reading life. It had me looking like an idiot, squirming¬†in the bus on the way to work, looking outside at the life bustling around me, then back down at the page thinking, “my life will never be the same again.”

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Dalinar Kholin, Highprince of Alethkar, ferocious¬†warrior, bearer of visions.¬†His most endearing traits are his introspection¬†and steadfast conviction in the Alethi Codes of War. On many occasions, I found myself thinking, “this world doesn’t deserve him.” Because he is good. Just so good.¬†Give this man a holiday. He bears the burden of guilt and visions with the kind¬†of strength that could carry the world and I want to be like him!

The moments with him that were icing on the cake? His interactions with Sadeas. I’m a complete sucker for friends-turned-rivals-turned-frenemies storylines, especially¬†as it was it an effective way of showing how the same goal can be achieved through two very different, and sometimes disastrous means.

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A very quick, poorly made edit I did of the First Ideal.
  • Philosophy and ethics. I feel this is very much the backbone of the novel, the driving force behind the characters and their motives, and something that I soaked up with great relish. The Immortal Words, The Way of Kings, the Alethi Codes of War … they all serve to highlight the “ideal” of mankind. To¬†embody the qualities of honour, service, and integrity in everything that you do.¬†The book is pretty much an exploration of a world where those ideals are lost, and in the broader sense, the fight that is needed to regain those ideals.
  • World-building and unique magic.¬†I love that the highstorms shape this world. How both flora and fauna have adapted to being ravaged by it’s brutality, how it’s used for power, and how it’s used to infuse currency. While I haven’t read a lot of high fantasy it really has the feel of being unique. Most have come off a little too Tolkien-y for my taste (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing) so this definitely was a breath of fresh air. As a scientist (I can say that because my degree officially declares that I am *cough*) I also love that the Surges have foundations in science. Those two factors give the book a sense of realism. The interludes were so very welcome and refreshing as it added a layer of information on the world of Rokhar outside of the main conflict of the novel. It was kind of like a nice little breather in between all the intense parts.

  • The slow burn. I love me the slow burn. Give it to me bit by bit. ¬†I know a lot of people may be put off by the pace, and in some cases I could also see where Sanderson could have cut things shorter or cut things out entirely, but please, I’m telling you: give this behemoth a chance because the slow burn pays off in a way so satisfying that it had me shaking and singing praises at three in the morning. At around the 80% mark, it becomes one helluva ride and culminates in an epilogue that made me feel with great certainty¬†that¬†I had just witnessed the beginning of a truly epic saga that will last the centuries.

Read it. Buy it. Give it to your bestfriend because your bestfriend deserves the best.