4

Monthly Recap: July


Is it bad that all I remember about July is crying over Patrick Ness's Chaos Walking and social anxiety? I hope not.

LIST OF NEWSWORTHY

Why do summers gotta be the busiest?
Loving the weather! // Channeling Adam Parrish // Eid and a photography session
Summers
Summers are always kind of busy because sisters and relatives like to visit around the time so I've never really been a fan of the season. I mean, it's hot and I just want to do my own thing so I was glad that it was Ramadan as it's always a pretty quiet month for us and then Eid happens. Oh boy, I had to go out and meet people for five consecutive days and it wasn't fun at all. I wasn't particularly in the mood for it and was glad when it was over, ha ha.

Photo Project
I've been thinking about doing a photo each for the OT5 (from Maggie Stiefvater's The Raven Cycle) and I started with Adam Parrish. Now I just need to find some glitter and brainstorm some more.

TV WATCH

All I remember watching is Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., really.

Fitz-Simmons be the best. // Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
I tried to watch Teen Wolf but man, I'm so over every season beginning with a death threat to all the main characters and then the whole season being about saving their lives. I will watch it for Stiles, though.
Suits is back and I do not like Mike's hair one bit. Also, not sure how I feel about Harvey's storyline.
I finally started watching Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and it's amazing and I love everything about it except bloody Ward.
I finished season one of Daria and I really do not want my watch to end anytime soon. Sigh.
Finished Sense8 and whoa! More, please.

MOVIE WATCH

Eh // Home
Home (6/10) - It was pretty childish and I didn't particularly enjoy it. It had some funny moments, though.


LIST OF READS

I got my reading mojo back.

So many favorites this month!
The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness
Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness
A-Force #2 by
A Whole New World by Liz Braswell
The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton
Armada by Ernest Cline
The Diviners by Libba Bray
Firefight by Brandon Sanderson

LIST OF BLOGPOSTS

Well, I reviewed books.

I posted my review of The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness.
I posted my review of Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson.
I posted my review of Red Rising by Pierce Brown.

LIST OF BOOK BUYS

Apparently, comic sales and ebook deals will be my downfall. Oh also, review copies.

So many favorite buys!
End of Days by Susan Ee
A-Force #2 by G. Willow Wilson,
Loki: Agent of Asgard, Vol. 1: Trust Me by
Captain Marvel, Vole 1: by by
Rocket Racoon, Vol. 1 by Filipe Andrade
Tiger Lily by Jodi Anderson
Half a King by Joe Abercrombie
Armada by Ernest Cline
The Diviners by Libba Bray
Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray (eARC)
Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho (eARC)
This is Where it Ends by Marieke Nijkamp (eARC)
Firefight by Brandon Sanderson
A Thousand Nights by EK Johnston (eARC)

PLAYLIST

I think July's playlist is my favorite so far this year because so much awesome music.

Finally an album by Hunter Hunted // Favorite CHVRCHES song ever // Amazing song!
How was your July?

2

Review: Red Rising by Pierce Brown


ABOUT THE BOOK

Red Rising by Pierce Brown
young adult fantasy space science fiction dystopia published by Del Rey on January 28th, 2014
first book in Red Rising trilogy

The Earth is dying. Darrow is a Red, a miner in the interior of Mars. His mission is to extract enough precious elements to one day tame the surface of the planet and allow humans to live on it. The Reds are humanity's last hope.

Or so it appears, until the day Darrow discovers it's all a lie. That Mars has been habitable - and inhabited - for generations, by a class of people calling themselves the Golds. A class of people who look down on Darrow and his fellows as slave labour, to be exploited and worked to death without a second thought.

Until the day that Darrow, with the help of a mysterious group of rebels, disguises himself as a Gold and infiltrates their command school, intent on taking down his oppressors from the inside. But the command school is a battlefield - and Darrow isn't the only student with an agenda.

THE RATING



THE REVIEW

Dystopia and I often do not go along together because the genre has a habit of leaving me underwhelmed due to lack of something or the other. So I'd start by admitting that I wasn't expecting much from Red Rising and wouldn't have read it if it wasn't for a review copy. Moreover, seeing the many comparisons to Victoria Aveyard's Red Queen, which failed to impress me, had made me wary of Red Rising which is a damn shame because this book is amazing as fuck.

The beginning of Red Rising totally baffled me because I so wasn't expecting that storyline, but I rolled with it like you do and was rewarded for it. In one of the mining colonies on Mars, Darrow is one of the best Helldivers tasked with mining helium-3 out of Mars which will help terra-form it into a habitable planet. He's just trying to live a simple life until an incident happens that changes everything. From then on, things changed so fast and so brutally that I was hooked. Initially, Darrow thinks that he's been forced into a life that he didn't ask for to carry out a mission that he didn't want to do anything with. So it's really amazing to see just how the revelation hits a special kind of nerve in Darrow and then it is on.

For Darrow to infiltrate the Golds, he goes through a series of physical transformations that are just too painful and revolting. However, that's the thing about Red Rising; it gets more and more horrifying with each major plot twist. What really impressed me was the Passage because it's really the point at which it's apparent just how at odds Darrow really is with himself. Still, that's nothing compared to what happens within House Mars, how cunningly the Golds work whether in his own house, in other houses and how it's all so messed up even up on the Olympus among the Proctors. That's really the best portion of the book because I couldn't get enough of how everyone was just trying to battle it out as best as they could. Even battling it out for fun, for fuck's sake. And oh, the looming truth involving Cassius totally delivers and the face off with the Jackal is done so fucking brilliantly.

Red Rising is really about Darrow rising from being a lowColor slave for all the mid and highColors to transforming into a highColor himself and the consequences that comes with that transformation.  In all honesty, as the story progresses, Darrow's character development seems like a step back from who he was because his rages comes into extended play. Darrow is not a nice character despite his constant struggle with using violence for selfish means by being driven to his limits. All of the Golds seem to struggle with it at some point because guilt is also involved sometimes. Still, it's understandable how Darrow gets the hierarchy and dynamics of highColors politics the best because of where he comes from.

Red Rising does not hold back and so, is chockfull of all kinds of violence. It is a fast-paced and action-filled story of vengeance and warfare with a set of characters who you can't help but love to hate and still have room left for admiration. I fucking loved everything about it because it explores human behavior in face of adversary brilliantly. Red Rising also explores the wicked side of it which is even more impressive to read about. I was thoroughly entertained!

THE QUOTES

'Look into yourself, Darrow, and you’ll realize that you are a good man who will have to do bad things.'

'See. That's what I don't get. If I am a good man, then why do I want to do bad things?'

'I look at him for a moment. Words are a weapon stronger than he knows. And songs are even greater. The words wake the mind. The melody wakes the heart. I come from a people of song and dance. I don't need him to tell me the power of words. But I smile nonetheless.'

5

Review: Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson


ABOUT THE BOOK

young adult fantasy science fiction published by Gollancz on September 24th, 2013
first book in Reckoners series

Ten years ago, Calamity came. It was a burst in the sky that gave ordinary men and women extraordinary powers. The awed public started calling them Epics. But Epics are no friend of man. With incredible gifts came the desire to rule. And to rule man you must crush his wills.

Nobody fights the Epics...nobody but the Reckoners. A shadowy group of ordinary humans, they spend their lives studying Epics, finding their weaknesses, and then assassinating them.

And David wants in. He wants Steelheart - the Epic who is said to be invincible. The Epic who killed David's father. For years, like the Reckoners, David's been studying, and planning - and he has something they need. Not an object, but an experience.

He's seen Steelheart bleed. And he wants revenge.

THE RATING


THE REVIEW

Steelheart is Brandon Sanderson winning the science fiction genre with one clean move because it's Brandon Sanderson and also, because he can. Supervillains is where the good stuff's at because the supervillains in the world of Steelheart have subtle weaknesses which makes things super fun. Also, there are no good Epics which really is how it'd go down if it ever came to that. So it's up to the humans to rid the world of Epics while risk losing the leftover resources, that are available in the first place because of Epics rule hierarchy, in the process. Still, that's just being too lazy to challenge the supervillains which is where David and the Reckoners come in.

The future was shaped ten years ago when Calamity rose, gifting a number of humans with superpowers that tipped the scales in their favor. Now the future is here and Epics run the world. One of the most powerful Epics, Steelheart, chose Newcago as his city to reign over which many do not appreciate. Least of all, David Charleston as David lost his father because of Steelheart.

For a story of revenge, you'd think that Steelheart would be this hardcore story with lots of destruction, but it's not that. Yes, there's a lot of destruction, especially because the city is all steel thanks to Steelheart. Yet, it's also thought-provoking because as evil as Steelheart is, his way of ruling has made sure that that the city's basic needs are fulfilled. So the world is constantly toeing the line of falling into utter chaos and chaos ensuing from time to time. Yet there's no stopping the Epics especially when some Epics have prime invincibility which means that they cannot be killed via conventional methods of well, killing. 

David is one of those protagonists who dive headfirst into trouble and I loved him for that from the beginning. It's amazing because David is determined to kill Steelheart despite the obstacles and it's hilarious as all he has to gone on with are his awkward nerdy personality, his research on Epics and his ridiculous metaphors. Seriously though, he has a habit of making up the most ridiculous metaphors and like, that should be a talent. David likes to improvise and make rash decisions and is so not fit to be a Reckoner which makes his dynamic with them that much more interesting.

The Reckoners are a group of rebels who took it upon themselves to take out Epics, mostly small time, and their latest plan has led them to Newcago. They have access to some really impressive gadgets and technology that David thinks could be put to some better use like taking out Steelheart. Megan is one of my favorite secondary characters in Steelheart because she's badass and pretty passive so it takes a hell of an effort to impress her. Prof is a mystery however, he's a great leader which really comes into play towards the end. Tia, Abraham and Cody have all their little quirks, too.

The world-building is awesome and there's really no other word to describe it. Steelheart packs a punch as the plot twists fit right into the fast-paced story. The aspects of politics in light of villainy, morality and human nature are brilliantly put together. Steelheart is intense as fuck and doesn't really give the reader room to breathe and take in what's happening and just moves on to more action which I loved. The ending makes total sense and ups the ante even more which I'm so ready to explore in Firefight.

THE QUOTES

'Sometimes, son,' my father said, prying my fingers free, 'you have to help the heroes along.'

'Never throw the first punch. If you have to throw the second, try to make sure they don't get up for a third.'

'She can shoot like a dream and she carries tiny grenades in her top, a bit of my addled mind thought. I think I might be in love.'

12

Review: The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness


ABOUT THE BOOK

The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness
young adult post-apocalyptic science fiction dystopia published by Walker Books on May 4th, 2009
second book in Chaos Walking trilogy

Fleeing before a relentless army, Todd has carried a desperately wounded Viola right into the hands of their worst enemy, Mayor Prentiss. Immediately separated from Viola and imprisoned, Todd is forced to learn the ways of the Mayor's new order. But what secrets are hiding just outside of town? And where is Viola? Is she even still alive? And who are the mysterious Answer? And then, one day, the bombs begin to explode...

The new edition of this tense, shocking and deeply moving novel features a bonus short story, The Wide, Wide Sea. Introducing new characters and set before the events of The Ask and the Answer, it is a story of love and loyalty in a divided world.

THE RATING



THE REVIEW

The Ask and the Answer is on a whole another level than The Knife of Never Letting Go. But also, it's not. The backbone of what makes the series so profound and incredible remains the same, but the constantly shifting themes of human conflict, loyalty, choices, trust, and love only dig deeper as the series continues. Not only that, Ness multi-layered those themes with themes of terrorism, anti-feminism, genocide, sexism, war, oppression, and segregation making it one hell of a book. The Ask and the Answer comes jam-packed with feels and I don't know how I survived through it.

The Ask and the Answer begins a short while after Todd and Viola were separated at the end of the first book. While I'll never get over that ending, in their first moments in The Ask and the Answer, they ask about each other before anything else and honestly, who gave Ness the right to fuck with my heart and mind in this way. Not only that, the prologue is bone-chilling, nerve-racking and my second absolute favorite after that of The Dream Thieves which is saying a-fucking-lot.

Todd is back to his sorry start with no one at his side, locked into a tower with the mentally unstable Mayor Ledger, subjected to the eery calm of Mayor Prestiss's scrutiny, and forced to pair with Davy Prentiss, of all people. Knowing how Todd is and then giving him the task of handling the Spackle just broke my heart. Todd obviously hasn't recovered from his earlier encounter with the Spackle which makes for a hell of an interesting dynamic. Moreover, Todd is attacked on all sides by Mayor Prentiss, tricked, and haggled which makes his character arc one for the history books. This boy goes through hell and back and still absolutely refuses to lose his soul.

Viola has her own point-of-view and I would've died if this wasn't the case as I finally got to know her in a way that wasn't possible before. She's one hell of a strong character who refuses to let anyone screw her over with bullshit. The things she does are just whoa. I adore characters who have a determined mindset and a set principles because then they refuse to bend to someone else's. Yet they can be bent if forced enough which I found completely fascinating to read about as Viola struggled with this.

The secondary characters are flawed as fuck and so, so realistic and twisted that I found myself sitting with my mouth agape one too many times. Mistress Coyle and Mayor Prentiss are two sides of the same coin so to witness them playing mind games with Todd and Viola to get their respective ways is disturbingly upfront. The Spackle and the women are really the most heartbreaking parts of The Ask and the Answer and I just won't ever be over them. This is what humans are capable of doing to each other and we see it everyday, but Ness shoves it in your face making you realize the consequences of every kind of action, good or bad, that's ever been put out into the world.

I'm a sucker for books like The Ask and the Answer that takes the intentions and the actions of men and women alike and flip them on their heads. The plot twists in this book are amazing and wrecked havoc on my feelings one on top of another. The whole mystery surrounding the title of the book was just beyond my expectations. Chapter 41 and 42 are my favorites and I honestly should have expected that brutal as fuck ending. I didn't and bye.

THE QUOTES

'If you ever want to see how small you are in the plan of God, just stand at the edge of an ocean.'
'You haven't even seen me fight yet,' I say, standing my ground. 'I knocked down a bridge to stop an army. I put a knife through the neck of a crazy murderer. I saved the lives of others while you just ran around at night blowing them up.'
'We can save the world,' I say, trying to smile. 'You and me.'
'Faith with proof is no faith at all.'
'So we forgive each other?' The crooked smile climbs up one more time. 'Again?'
And I look right into his eyes, right into him as far as I can see, because I want him to hear me, I want him to hear me with everything I mean and feel and say.
'Always,' I say to him. 'Every time.'
'We just keep on having to save each other,' he says. 'We ever gonna be even?'
'I hope not,' I say.
He smiles. 'You may have no choice.'
'There's always a choice,' Viola says by my side.
'It's not that you should never love something so much that it can control you.
It's that you need to love something that much so you can never be controlled.
It's not a weakness-
It's your best strength-'
'And what exactly do you think this proves?' he spits. 'You've got power, but you don't know what to do with it.'
VIOLA
'Looks like I'm doing fine,' I say.
'The boy who refused to lose his soul.'

13

Monthly Recap: June


Summer laziness and yeah.

LIST OF NEWSWORTHY

Lazy does not make much newsworthy hmm.
A day about which I should finish writing my post // Home sweet home // Ramadan's moon sighting // Best mail ever // BOOKS!
Homely-ness
At the beginning of the month, I finally came back home after spending almost 4 months in Lahore. It still feels so good to be back home and the weather has been marginally better which is a blessing in such times of global warming.

Fasting Hours
Ramadan began on June 18th which is definitely a weird feeling because every year it arrives earlier than before. Statistically, it takes about thirty years for a Ramadan to occur in the same month it did before. Like I was born on 2nd of Ramadan so in about five years Ramadan would be in March which is a bit disorienting. Anyway, can't believe it's almost half over which means that my days of staying up all night are also coming to a close, sads.

Rereading Going Strong
I think I need to write a post about just how amazing it is to reread books. Definitely need to do this on an annually basis.

TV WATCH

I binge-watched all the things. Or tried my best to.

My favorite sensates and that's all // Sense8
Revenge is over and I could care less about how it all went down. Good riddance, honestly.
So yeah, it was emotional for a while on The Vampire Diaries and that's pretty much it. I really do not want to continue and almost want to kick myself because why's it so hard to let go of shitty TV shows for me? I mean, I did somehow stop watching Pretty Little Liars, thank goodness.
Orphan Black is back and I couldn't be happier though I do need to catch up, oops.
Season three of Orange is the New Black is so amazing, you guys! I seriously love this show so much and I'm glad it wasn't as over the top as it was last season. Also, very obsessed with Ruby Rose.
I binge-watched iZombie and it was fun and all but that finale! Urgh, why must CW ruin things by making them predictable and meh?
Oh, I also finally watched the pilot of Agent Carter and yes, I love it!
Currently more than halfway through Sense8 and hot, hot damn. Highly recommended!

MOVIE WATCH

:heart eyes: // Now You See Me
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part I (8/10) - I cried. A lot.
Now You See Me (10/10) - Rewatched this with Lillian, Elaine and Crini and it was so fun! I love this movie a lot.
Thor (7/10) - Actually a rewatch with Crini which made me want to rewatch Avengers and Thor: The Dark World hmm.

LIST OF READS

My book hangover was the worst after reading Marchetta's The Piper Son so couldn't read all that much.

^.^
The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness (reread)
Mad Max: Fury Road: Furiosa #1 by George Miller, Nico Lathouris, Mark Sexton
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor (reread)

LIST OF BLOGPOSTS

I don't know when I'm getting out of this weird combination of slump, laziness and constantly uninspired blogging thing.

I posted a top ten Tuesday list of reasons to await the release of Sarah J. Maas's Queen of Shadows
I posted my answers to Burn, Reread, Rewrite tag
I posted my review of Mad Max: Fury Road: Furiosa #1 by George Miller, Nico Lathouris, Mark Sexton
I posted my review of The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

LIST OF BOOK BUYS

I don't think I've bought this many print books in a single month before.

Book buying at its peak
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater
The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness
Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness
Golden Son by Pierce Brown
Mad Max: Fury Road: Furiosa #1 by George Miller, Nico Lathouris, Mark Sexton
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella
Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (thank you, Christina!)

PLAYLIST

I listened to a ton of music and it was awesome!

Halsey's music is magic // So addicted to this version of Bad Blood // The Raven Cycle's OT5 feels
How was your June?