10 Of My Favorite Books (Thus Far)

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Although I often pride myself on reading books from a whole range of genres, my reading tendencies don't venture very far. If you take a look at the books I reviewed on the Reviews List page, you'll see that there are, in fact, a select few genres I stick to. One of my reading related resolutions for last year was to broaden my reading horizon, but I didn't really keep to the resolution. This year, however, I will muster the willpower to keep to said plan (even though we're already nearly halfway through the year) Anyway, here is a list of ten of my favorite books, in particular order:

This book is high up on my favorites list, easily one of the top three. Pride and Prejudice is my very first Jane Austen read and I have to admit that I haven't had the opportunity to read the rest of her known works yet, but I will very soon. I've been eying a beautiful Jane Austen stories collector's edition at my school's Barnes and Noble and you'll be right in assuming it won't be long before it's in my grasp.

Blood Promise is my favorite of the Vampire Academy books because 1) Rose follows (SPOILER ALERT) newly-turned Strigoi Dimitri to Russia for disclosure and with the hopes that she can bring him back to the Academy (I still don't understand why she thought that was a good idea and if she truly believed her efforts would be fruitful); 2) Strigoi come across as mindless creatures, their one and only goal being to feed, but we get the not-so-mindless perspective of Strigoi Dimitri and find that they, in fact, have other plans and goals and; 3) Rose's trip to Russia was quite fascinating.

The Pendragon series is one whose target audience is children and I really enjoyed the books when I first read them at the age of 10-12. The premise of the series is that a boy named Bobby Pendragon is left a ring by his late uncle that allows him to travel across time and space. He's a Traveler and that means that it is his duty to go the dimensions that are at a turning point and stop Saint Daine's (the antagonist) plans of destroying Halla (everything that exists). It's a really great story in which the protagonist sometimes fails in his quest to save a dimension. The Never War takes place on pre-World War II Earth and features a somewhat comfortable Bobby feeling more in his element because Earth is his home and having him realize that things are much more complicated than they may seem.

Good God, this book was quite the whirlwind. Funnily enough, I entered a giveaway for the first book of the trilogy Red Rising just for the heck of it and didn't really care whether or not I actually won the book. I did, took with me when I was road-tripping to Chicago with my family in 2015, and devoured it within a few hours. Golden Son played the stereotypical role of a second book in sci-fi trilogies in which the hero is taken down a peg or two by experiencing catastrophic defeat before swinging back at the enemy with all of his/her might, but this was exceptionally well-written and was a hell of an emotional rollercoaster.

I've stated this fact countless times on this blog, but I think it warrants repetition: Little Women was the book that got me into fervent reading. I might've been around eleven or twelve when my dad took us to our local B&N and recommended that I read Little Women, which I will be forever grateful for.

After making what had to be the stupidest decision of jumping into an Announcer in the history of fictional characters making stupid decisions, (this is worth noting because she often boasts about her high intellect and 4.0 GPA) Luce is thrust into the lives of her various incarnations and- by the end of the book- finds out the truth (for the most part) about the seemingly endless cycle of her reincarnation (the foundation of which, admittedly, isn't much of a foundation)

I feel ashamed in saying this, but I'd only just recently read Prisoner of Azkaban for the first time, and I've been a fraud Potterhead for more than three-quarters of my life (I'm twenty-one, you can do the math). With the exception of Sorcerer's Stone and Chamber of Secrets, I watched every Harry Potter film immediately after release, but for a reason beyond my comprehension, I never really got around to reading all of the books.

Initially, I added A Thousand Pieces of You to my to-read list because of the cross-dimensional travel aspect of the story and the beautiful cover, but I fell in love with the book because of a few scenes that took place in Tsar Russia.

Bloodlines is a spin-off of the Vampire Academy series that follows Sydney Sage, a minor, non-vampire character that was introduced in Blood Promise, I think. Her character was a nice contrast to Vampire Academy's female protagonist, Rose Hathaway. She's collected, by-the-book, and unsociable, The series also gave the author a chance to salvage Adrian Ivashkov's (a fan favorite) story after giving us an unsatisfying ending. It was also really interesting reading from an Alchemist's point of view.

Trunks is introduced in this issue. I don't think much more needs to be said.

Movie News: Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Good day, everyone! It's been a good minute! I know the trailer has been out for quite a while now, but considering The Crimes of Grindelwald is my most anticipated film of the year, I thought I ought to document my reaction of the extended trailer on the blog. If you've been closely following the happenings on the blog, you might have noticed that when I write reactions, particularly to movie trailers, I don't nitpick every detail and theorize who will do what and this or that symbolizes. This is because when I watch movie trailers for the first time, especially ones that are book adaptations, I try to simply enjoy them and overanalyzing everything takes out the viewing pleasure. This is why I usually give watered-down accounts of my reactions and what I'll continue to do on today's post. I took the liberty of embedding the trailer below for those who haven't watched it.

My immediate reaction to the first 15+ seconds of the trailer was, "Yay, Hogwarts!". We didn't get to see the School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in the previous film, so I was ecstatic that we'll be getting at least two scenes at Hogwarts from what we've seen in the glimpses we got in the trailer. I have mixed feelings about a) a portrayal of young not-yet-appointed-as-headmaster Professor Albus Dumbledore and; b) Jude Law's portrayal of Dumbledore. Don't get me wrong, I really admire Law's work as an actor. In fact, he stars in two of my all-time favorite films (which, needless to say, are my favorites largely because of his roles in them).

Overall, I think I'm just apprehensive of his take (or anyone's for that matter) on young Dumbledore because I don't want his portrayal to potentially ruin one of my favorite characters. This fear was enforced after I watched the trailer and not because Law's performance was particularly bad, but because Dumbledore is a character we know and because his past was shrouded in mystery in the Harry Potter books and movies that I don't know what to expect personality-wise and whether or not I'll like what I will see. I'm excited to see what's in store for Jacob and Credence and I'm also looking forward to knowing what Grindelwald was like, how the Newt-Leta-Thesius relationship plays out, and getting either a confirmation or denial on whether the woman embracing Credence on the official movie poster will indeed become Voldemort's snake and (SPOILER ALERT) Horcrux, Nagini. I CAN'T WAIT!

City of Glass (The Mortal Instruments #3) by Cassandra Clare

Thursday, January 25, 2018

5 out of 5 stars!

A five-star rating from Islam Ahmed? What a feat! It must be the greatest book ever written, right? Umm, surely not the best book ever written, but certainly one of my favorites. In fact, out of all of the Mortal Instruments books, I believe City of Glass is my favorite. This is where everything finally comes to a head, Valentine finally attempts to make good on his promises and attempts to eradicate the defiant population of Shadowhunters that refuse to follow him. The first time I read CoG was back in 2012, I think I was going into my sophomore year of high school. I was plowing through the series, I really enjoyed the first two books. If City of Fallen Angels hadn't been released prior to my reading CoG, I would have assumed it was the last book in the series (which would make it a trilogy) because of the way it ended. But then again, there was the case of Sebastian's missing body so I guess it only makes sense that there be a fourth book. The five-star rating I'm giving this book is based on my initial reaction after having finished it.

As usual, Cassie's writing is wonderful and the world-building and scene weaving are awesome! Just one question: why are her characters always tired?  Surely they sleep even when Cassie doesn't write a nap into a scene. You'd think ever-weary Luke never sleeps because of all of the times "Luke looked tired" appeared in City of Glass. CoG is amazing! If you haven't read it yet, I strongly suggest that you do!

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Harry Potter #3) by J.K Rowling

Thursday, January 18, 2018

4.5 out of 5 stars

I am ashamed to say this, but I've finally read Prisoner of Azkaban, after having been a Potter fan for well over a decade. And yes, you read that right, 4.5 stars. I've half a mind to give it five stars, because Prisoner of Azkaban might just be my favorite of all the Harry Potter books I've read thus far (5 out of the 7, I've yet to finish Goblet of Fire, which I'd be reading by the time this review goes up, and Order of the Pheonix) but there were a few things that were said and happened that left me confused because they didn't quite make sense to me. For instance, the whole business with the Time Turner. In the film, the concept of turning back time and using the Time Turner to do so wasn't very ambiguous because all Harry and Hermione had to worry about was not being seen and get back to the Infirmary in time to be caught up with the present. In the books, however, in addition to not being seen, they also had to refrain from siriusly altering the past for fear of bringing about unwanted drastic changes. 

I enjoyed the Whomping Willow's backstory and how it was especially planted for Remus's werewolf-turning nights. But at one point, he explains that to render the Whomping Willow immobile, one must press a specific area at the base of the tree. For some reason, that detail didn't really flow well with me. In the film, Remus incanted the Immobulus spell to freeze it's motor functions and I prefer it that way. I was surprised by the significant role Crookshanks had played in the book because in the movie he was remarkably underplayed and I have a newfound appreciation for him. Professor Trelawney is insufferable and the fact that she's a teacher at a respectable wizarding school is beyond me. How is that they came to hire her when her excessively frequent inaccuracies are purely theoretical? I echo Hermione's skepticism and understand why was so uninterested in what Trelawney had to say. She [Trelawney] must have prophesized Harry's death about a dozen times throughout Prisoner of Azkaban alone.

Bonus points for sassy Harry. He is so much more lively and cheeky in the books than he is in the movies. In the films, especially in the last few installments, Harry is a brooding hero who never really gets over the death of his parents and is inextricably connected to the dark wizard that tried to kill him when he was hardly even conscious of the world around him and who will ultimately be the downfall of said dark wizard. But in the books, he's a normal kid who's given to the occasional irrational action or snarky quip. I LOVE THIS BOOK! Certainly one of my favorites!

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

Wednesday, January 10, 2018


2.5 out of 5 stars

*The content of this anthology is explicit and appropriate for readers above a certain age and maturity.

When this collection of poems was first published, there was a lot of hype surrounding it. It made its way to all of the relevant bestselling lists and maintained its prestigious position for quiet a while. In fact, it might still be on some list. In my opinion, all of the hype and high placement was unwarranted. Frankly, I was a little disappointed. Initially, when I started the anthology, I was so put it out that I was itching to give it a star and a half. I felt that the most of the poems consisted of a series of words stringed together and made to seem thoughtful. The writing was sub-par and there were so many reoccuring themes and concepts that I felt like I was reading the same content over and over again, just reworded. 

On the other hand, there were a few passages that I enjoyed reading and liked the feelings they elicited. The passages are presented below. 

Favorite passages