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

Farewell 2017, Welcome 2018! : Monthly Wrap-up/End of Year Post

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Happy New Year, everyone! This post is certainly late, as we are already a few days into 2018, but I felt I had to publish it anyway. 2017 was a terrible reading year for me, I read less than twenty books. That's ridiculous! I pledge to read at least thirty books by the end of 2018. I've already started reading my first book of the year, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K Rowling. This is the first time I read the third installment of the Harry Potter series. I first read Sorcerer's Stone when I was, like, seven years old; Chamber of Secrets when I was in high school, and Half-Blood Prince and Deathly Hallows right before the former's movie hit theaters. After Prisoner of Azkaban, I plan to read Goblet of Fire and Order of the Pheonix. I also want to read Lord of the Rings because I've always loved the movies including the Hobbit trilogy but never got around to reading it. The book is 1179 pages long, which is intimidating for some people, but not me! Subsequent to LoR, I want to read The Handmaiden's Tale so that I could watch the critically acclaimed show, for which I'm excited. I also added the widely popular Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur to my Kindle library.

Admittedly, 2017 was not a very good year for me. I finished the last of undergraduate studies last May and graduated the same month. A strange bout of laziness and a lack of motivation took me for months. I procrastinated and completed almost all of my major assignments last minute and didn't care about my grades as much as I did the semester before, for some reason. It might've been because of all of the uncertainty that accompanied the culmination of my undergrad career, or it might've been because I was simply tired of school work. I don't know. What I do know though, is that I still suffer from a residual lack of motivation. I was super excited to start grad school and take courses relevant to my studies, but I wasn't as excited as I was to do actual school work as I used to be.

May 17, 2017, was the day of my commencement ceremony. I always knew I would graduate, obviously, but I didn't imagine I would do so after my third year. I was proud of myself because I considered earning a Bachelor's degree in Psychology and Sociology to be my first major accomplishment. The day of the commencement was fun, I spent it with family and friends celebrating my achievement. I spent the summer completing the last of college requirements, gone were the hopes of having any fun. I started to panic when the end of the summer break was fast-approaching, I didn't have a set plan after I completed my course. I continued the graduate school search that began last December and looked for relevant programs that I could apply to so late in the year, ones I was interested in, of course. As you may know, I ended up only applying to Teachers College, Columbia University in New York. I so badly wanted to be accepted. In fact, I don't think I'd ever yearned for anything more in my life. The day I got the acceptance letter, I was ecstatic. Even that word might be an understatement. Orientation Day for graduate students was held on September 6, 2017, and I remember going to the event feeling like an imposter like didn't deserve to be there, but soon found out that that was feeling common among first years. But as the day progressed, I felt increasingly better suited for the challenge. When classes commenced the day after the next, I didn't really know what to expect. I didn't know if the courses were as structured as undergraduate courses or if they were more flexible, with loose deadlines. I found that they were a combination of both. The material was a little challenging but definitely understandable and doable. I did have trouble with one course, a Foundations course no less. I performed terribly on the exams for a reason unbeknownst to me. I studied and practically memorized the material, especially as I was preparing for the final exam, but I still didn't do well. 2017 has been my most stressful year yet. I do hope 2018 is a great one!

I don't remember if I featured this playlist in a Monthly Wrap-up before, but it's what I've been listening to recently. 

I haven't been watching anything consistently for the past month, I watch a few episodes of a few shows here and there. I did start watching HBO's Girls, the show created by Lena Dunham. It's a good show, it follows four young women three nearing their mid-twenties and one eighteen-year-old trying to figure out life, one mistake at a time. The show is supposed to an unembellished and realistic portrayal of the post-collegiate life of the average twenty-something, but I think it's a little too...harsh to be a fitting depiction of the average. 

Happy New Year!

Open Letters: Bathsheba Everdene

Monday, December 4, 2017

Ms. Everdene,

I am writing this letter to you today in a state of confusion. Initially, I was enamored by independence, self-sufficiency, and confidence. I was amazed because you were seemingly unfazed by the horde of men expressing their admiration and deep affection for you. When Gabriel Oak promised to take care of and love you if you agreed to marry him, you refused him, not unkindly. You cited the fact that you did not feel that getting married to him would be justified. That is to say, he did not have much to offer you to warrant a marriage, your opinion.

After inheriting your deceased uncle's farm, you caught the attention of Mr. Boldwood. William was rich, handsome, and granted, he was an older man, but he was well-situated and an overall good candidate. It would have been a fortuitous marriage. Expectedly, you declined his proposal of marriage as well. To me, you were the epitome of female autonomy and strength. However, everything changed when Sergeant Francis Troy, a somewhat charming soldier strangely drew your interest. You ought to have known that Francis or "Frank" was bad news from the start. You give off an air of being a fine judge of character and overly heedful of the consequences of poor decisions, and yet, to my great surprise, you were captivated by Troy. Of the three suitors, Troy was the least agreeable. You claimed that you married him after he told you he was heartbroken over a woman more beautiful than you and that somewhere between "distraction and jealousy" you grew infatuated with him. Still, I will never understand why his little display of good swordsmanship was reason enough to marry him when Gabriel's kindness and selflessness were not, regardless of the fact that you ultimately ended up with Gabriel.