[Review] Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho

Prunella had once thought life in London would be all flirting and balls and dresses, hitting attentive suitors on the shoulder with a fan, and breakfasting late upon bowls of chocolate. She sighed now for her naïveté. Little had she known life in London was in fact all hexes and murder and thaumaturgical politics, and she would always be rising early for some reason or other!

Full disclosure: I fell into a reading slump in the middle of reading Sorcerer to the Crown, but I picked it up again and bounced back. Even with the slow start, this book is now one of my favourites. Sorcerer to the Crown is set against a rich, magical setting, with memorable characters and beautiful writing. If you're a fantasy reader, you need to get this on your TBR!

[The List #5] Kickstarting A Reading Roll

The List is a feature where I hold myself accountable regarding my TBR. This (hopefully) stops me from picking up new books despite my a pile of unread books.

I was on a reading roll for about a month, and then I just... stopped. It's really annoying! I think either my last book choice killed it, or I simply ran out of steam. Either way, I'm giving up on said book and hoping to kickstart it again by picking up a different books!

Two Years (and Five Months) of Blogging: Graphs and Goals

Normally a blogger would post one of these posts on their actual blogoversary, and I would have done that too! If it wasn't for, you know, procrastination and whatnot. Plus, I didn't really know what to say except that I'm amazed that this blog has survived for this long. I also feel very much like a newbie blogger still and don't have helpful hints to give anyone. So, I thought I'd look through my posts from the beginning and make some representative graphs!

[Rewind] August 2017

Hello friends! I hope life has been treating you well this past month! August has been an eventful month for me, and for once it’s not all about my studies (madness, I know). What have I been up to? We’ll get to that, but first – books!

New to My Shelves

I’ve been keeping a close eye on my budget this month, so instead of buying new books, I’ve been visiting the library more! I borrowed an audiobook of Murphy’s Law on a whim (I seem to be constantly in a lady detective, historical fiction mood these days). It’s not mind-blowing, but I’m really enjoying it.

I also borrowed the English audiobook of The Rainbow Troops, translated from Indonesian, just because it was there. It was huge in Indonesia a couple of years ago, but I’m contrary so I never read it or watched the movie. I think I need to read it in the original language, because my mind keeps trying to figure out how the sentences would sound in Indonesian.

Another library find this month was Girl Waits with Gun, which I’ve just finished. (I did mention my historical fiction, lady detective kick, yeah?) I adored it and am thinking of picking up the sequel already!


Mirror in the Sky / ★★

Other Things on the Blog

↠ I signed up for #TheReadingQuest this month! I'm not doing too badly too, thanks to long hours of travelling I've done in the last week. Check out my tweets for updates on my quest if you'd like! I'm surprising myself by already finishing four out of my goal of the five books, though it can be put down to the fact that I spent 12-hours travelling on one day and had a 3-hour train ride on another day. It's been a while since I've been able to binge read, so this has been really fun!

↠ I discussed whether peeking at the ending is a bad reading habit. What do you think?

Challenges Progress

↠ Goodreads challenge: 28/30 books
↠ Discussion challenge: 6/24 discussion posts
↠ ReadDiverse2017 challenge: 9 books
↠ #RockMyTBR challenge: 1 book
↠ Backlist Books challenge: 8 books

Around the Blogosphere

↠ Becky discusses her priorities when it comes to blogging.
↠ Musings Over Nothing discusses the social aspect of reading.

In Life

↠ My best friend got married! I was maid of honour, which was also my first time being a part of a bridal party. It was hectic, but it was also so lovely. I told her I would try to not cry, but my eyes definitely started welling up when she walked down the aisle!

↠ One week after that wedding, I flew home to Indonesia for a holiday as well as to attend the wedding of one of my close friends from high school. The difference between the two weddings is actually shocking. For instance, while the first wedding required the bride and bridesmaid to start getting ready by 7.30am, this one involved waking up at 2.30am for make-up and hair! (I was rather glad I wasn't part of the bridal party for this one; I was exhausted just thinking about it.)  It was also a beautiful wedding, and I was glad to be able to spend time with friends that I haven't seen in a while.

↠ As I write this, I'm still on holiday. Apart from catching up with my old friends, I'm stuffing myself full with my mum's cooking and my favourite food from my hometown. (Do you know how many varieties of Indonesian food are not available in Melbourne? Too many.) I haven't seriously thought about my thesis or my placement in a week. It's sooo nice. There is a part of me that's anxious about whether I'd be behind when I get back, but I think I needed this break.

In Store for Next Month

I'm so behind on my reviews now that I'm actually doing well with #TheReading Quests! Look out for what I expect will be a gushy review of Sorcerer to the Crown. I'm also trying to decide on what to write to commemorate my second blogoversary, even if it's going to be about five months late by the time I finish with it! Any suggestions?

How was your August?
Tell me about something that made you happy in the last month!
What are you looking forward to in September?

[Review] Mirror in the Sky by Aditi Khorana

I came into Mirror in the Sky imagining it to be a sci-fi novel about an alternate universe where the lives of Earth's teenagers and their Sliding Doors, alien doppelganger somehow intersect. That's not what happened. This is more of a contemporary novel about the power of 'what if's rather than a sci-fi, and I wish I'd known that before I started. While the premise is intriguing and I enjoyed the depiction of high-school friendships, I kept waiting for something else to happen.

Is Peeking at the Ending a Bad Reading Habit?

There was a time when reading ahead, let alone peeking at the end of a book, was an absolute no-no for me. When Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows came out, my friend told me that she'd picked up a copy at the bookshop and flipped right to the last page then and there. I was aghast. Aside from immediately forbidding her from telling me about it, I thought reading ending first would completely ruin the reading experience.

And yet, recently I've found myself flipping ahead, or even glancing at the last page. I'm not sure why! It's happened both with books that I like and books that don't hold my attention, so it's not necessarily me looking for a reason to keep reading (though it is possible in some occasions). There's a lot of discussion about how smartphones and multi-tasking is rewiring our brains and making us less patient, which is something I've noticed with myself when I'm studying. I find it more difficult to focus on one task for an extended period of time, something I used to be quite good at. It's possible that this is affecting my reading too.

The journey is supposed to be the exciting part of reading, right? If you already know how the story ends, then there's no mystery, anticipation, or surprises. Or is there?

In many ways, we know how most stories will end. The couple will get their happy ending. There's a 95% chance the revolution will succeed, or the orphan is going to save the world. Knowing this doesn't put me off reading romance or fantasy, because I don't know what will happen in the middle. I'd be more annoyed if someone told me of a major plot twist that happens in the middle of a book. Of course, there will be books where knowing the ending would completely and utterly ruin the fun (like if someone had told me who had died at the end of the fifth and sixth Harry Potter). On the whole though, is it really bad to peek at the ending before you finish reading?

What do you think?
Have you ever read the ending of a book first?
How do you feel about spoilers? 

#TheReadingQuest Readathon Sign-Up

I usually avoid readathons because I'm not very good at them, but this one looks so fun, I couldn't resist. Plus, I'm going to have two weeks of holiday in the middle of August, so that might help! Anyway, here is my sign-up!

If you haven't heard about this readathon, Aentee at ReadAtMidnight made #TheReadingQuest based on a video-game quest. In this challenge, you’ll be embarking on a journey to conquer your TBR pile through a series of stages. You’ll read new stories, gain experience, and level up a character of your choosing! The quest will take place between Sunday 13th August to Sunday 10th September, 2017.

For more information, read the master post here on Aentee's blog. A big shout-out to CW at Read, Think, and Ponder for creating the gorgeous arts for this readathon!

You can choose one out of four characters, each with their own quests, and I picked to be a Knight! Knights fight their way through the First Across path, with stages inspired by action and weaponry.

#TheReadingQuest TBR

↠ The First Book of a Series: The Diviners
This book has been on my shelf for ages, and it's time to tackle it. I quite enjoy Libba Bray's other works, so I'm looking forward to reading this. (If only it wasn't so big!)

↠ A Book with a Verb in the Title: Carry On 
I really enjoyed Rainbow Rowell's talk at last year's Melbourne Writers Festival about the magic system in this book, but I'm not sure how I feel about it being basically a.. parody? play? ... of Harry Potter. Anyway, I'm intrigued.

↠ A Book with a Weapon on the Cover: Girl Waits with Gun
I actually will need to borrow this one from the library, but this is one of those books whose covers make me want to read it. Plus, how great is that title?

↠ A Book with a Red Cover: An Abundance of Katherine
I actually have never loved John Green's writing. I never even bothered to watch The Fault in Our Stars. I like his books well enough, but they're just alright for me. My sister, on the other hand, had a phase where she practically devoured all of his books. This one fits the box for this readathon, so I'm going to give it a shot!

↠ A Book that Has a TV/Movie Adaptation: The Magicians
Yet another book that I bought because I enjoyed the author's appearance at MWF last year. I loaned it to a friend and her review of it isn't too favourable, sooo I guess we'll see?

I've managed to pick four out of the above books from my shelf, so if this goes well, I'll be really crossing them off a really long-standing TBR. Wish me luck!

Are you going to do the readathon too? What's on your TBR?