17 January 2018

My Blogging Problems // No Pressure and Fewer Expectations (It’s OK To Be A Bad Blogger)

My Blogging Problems
So this post is going up a week later than intended and it’s not even going up on the day I intended but it’s getting posted and if that isn’t a prime example of what I’m trying to say with this post then I don’t know what is.
No Pressure
This is the time of the year when we start creating expectations for the year. We decide on the challenges we wish to take part in for the coming year and we make resolutions for ourselves as we have once more started a new year and as a whole, we create expectations for ourselves. This then leads to us putting pressure on ourselves towards the end of the year and for some, it can cause undue stress.

I am here to tell you that we need to stop doing that to ourselves! We might not complete a challenge but that is ok! Unless you know you can take the pressure don’t push yourself to do something just because that’s the thing bloggers do. Don’t set yourself a high Goodreads total if it’ll stress you out when you fall behind (why does that website feel the need to rub it in when you’re behind… I know I’m two books behind don’t keep telling me it just pisses me off). Also, don’t take on a bunch of challenges if you don’t think you can keep up (or don’t announce you’re participating in a challenge so the only person who will know if you don’t complete a goal is you then, it still sucks but less pressure).

One of my goals for the year is apologising less. I am late in posting always (although I don’t have a schedule so the only person who knows I’m late is me until I let you guys know that fact too). I think this is something we all need to learn. Less pressure. Fewer expectations. And no more apologising. 2018 is the year of being ok with what we can do. I’m all for stretching yourself and challenging yourself but no more shall we lost sleep over things. I know I’m making it sounds simple, I know I still feel annoyed when a post isn’t ready when I hoped and continually want to apologise when I’m not doing what I want to be doing as a blogger but I am trying and so I want this to be the reminder that it’s ok to be a bad blogger… I know Nereyda said that one best here. Even so, it’s true, we all suck at blogging sometimes and we all suck at reading and I know we all fail at challenges from time to time but it’s totally ok. The only person making you think otherwise is yourself so make this the year you’re nicer to yourself about these things, ok?

Anyone else stress themselves out over challenges and blog goals and question why they’re doing it? Who’s with me in being ok with failing?

14 January 2018

Sunday Summary // 14.01.2018

Sunday Summary
Guys, why didn’t you tell me I put the wrong date on my Sunday post last week? It just demonstrates how much I’d lost track of time when I wasn’t working (and also when I was). I was also so bone achingly tired I actually slept for 11 hours Saturday night so I need to remember to sleep more obviously.

This week has been another calm week where I have continued the planning of my nan’s funeral. We had to have it a little later than we’d hoped as my great uncle is going some treatment at the hospital so we don’t want to clash with his treatment. It does mean we’ve got a little bit more time for decision making. In fact, the only thing we have left to decide on is who the bearers will be and what music to play at the start and end of the service. They aren’t major decisions but the decisions are still hard to make. We also met with the reverend who will be doing the service and I cried all over the poor woman. She was perfectly lovely, though, so that made me feel better. And she had adorable little dogs as well so I spent a lot of time bonding with them. I am a dog person it seems (unless someone has cats then I am a cat person… I like animals).

One good thing about this week is my mom discovered a budget airline who does flights to New York. We’re hoping to take a short 5 night trip to New York in September and I’m so excited! I’ve never been to New York and I’ve always wanted to visit so it should be awesome. I definitely needed something to look forward to this year and I hope to buy a few books while I’m there as there are a couple of books I’ve not gotten as they simply aren’t out over here. Anyway, I have spent a whole lot of time looking at things online but I need to sort out both my passport and the dates we’re actually going so I can start planning what I want to do when we get there.

What I’ve Been Reading

Once more, I have read just one book this week. I finished of Wold by Wolf and I have now started Blood for Blood. Goodreads is reminding me I am two books behind schedule (rude really) but I’ve been busy starting a rewatch of all 12 seasons of Bones so I’ve been busy. I’ve enjoyed the two books I’ve read so far this year and I’m kind of liking the slow leisurely reading pace… I may end up amending my reading goal if this is how my reading year goes.

New To Me

Second Chance SummerThis Song Will Save Your Life23361244Sisters Red
So, I had grand plans this year and fate seemed to work against me a little. I didn’t intend to buy any books this week but one of my local book shops has a discount books section and I ended up walking out with 4 books for £13. I couldn’t resist. I can justify this by the simple fact that I have read three of these books before and the fourth was a hardback, who can say no to a hardback?
I See YouSecrets of the Lighthouse
I also got given two books by a cousin and whilst they aren’t my usual reading fare they do look interesting and I struggle saying no to books. They were only going to the charity shop anyway, I figured I’d read them before they got there (and maybe take a few of my own there as well).
The Duchess Deal
And finally, I got one RC this week. I don’t even feel bad about not sticking to the whole no ARC thing because I finally have the new Tessa Dare book to read! I really cannot wait, that is actually my next read.

What have you been up to this week? Am I the only one already planning a holiday even though I’ve barely started this year?

13 January 2018

Five Reasons To… Read The City of Brass

The City of Brass
Published: 8th March 2018 (UK)

Source: Book box/Edelweiss

Genre: Fantasy, Historical, Young Adult

My Rating:
Step into The City of Brass, the spellbinding debut from S. A. Chakraborty—an imaginative alchemy of The Golem and the Jinni, The Grace of Kings, and One Thousand and One Nights, in which the future of a magical Middle Eastern kingdom rests in the hands of a clever and defiant young con artist with miraculous healing gifts
Nahri has never believed in magic. Certainly, she has power; on the streets of 18th century Cairo, she’s a con woman of unsurpassed talent. But she knows better than anyone that the trade she uses to get by—palm readings, zars, healings—are all tricks, sleights of hand, learned skills; a means to the delightful end of swindling Ottoman nobles.

But when Nahri accidentally summons an equally sly, darkly mysterious djinn warrior to her side during one of her cons, she’s forced to accept that the magical world she thought only existed in childhood stories is real. For the warrior tells her a new tale: across hot, windswept sands teeming with creatures of fire, and rivers where the mythical marid sleep; past ruins of once-magnificent human metropolises, and mountains where the circling hawks are not what they seem, lies Daevabad, the legendary city of brass?a city to which Nahri is irrevocably bound.

In that city, behind gilded brass walls laced with enchantments, behind the six gates of the six djinn tribes, old resentments are simmering. And when Nahri decides to enter this world, she learns that true power is fierce and brutal. That magic cannot shield her from the dangerous web of court politics. That even the cleverest of schemes can have deadly consequences.

After all, there is a reason they say be careful what you wish for . . .
I can probably think of more than five reasons to read The City of Brass but I will attempt to be concise and give you the best reasons for reading this utterly amazing book, even if it does involve convincing you folks to read the first book in yet another series. Actually, I’ll probably just try not flail too much and actually write coherent sentences because this was me after finishing:

Complex and Interesting Characters

The characters in this book were the best. Nahri was this amazing con artist. She could sense illness in people and she also conned the rich out of their money to fuel her pursuit of moving to be able to pursue being a doctor. Despite her abilities and their unknown origin, she didn’t believe in magic until a djinn (daeva) arrives in her life and she discovers there is an entire city of djinn called Daevabad. I loved how Nahri may have discovered a world of magic, demons and djinn but she never loses who she is and wants to be. Sure, she takes moments to question what she wants but she is still her own person and tries to avoid being swept away.

Then there is Dara, the mysterious djinn Nahri summons who has a dark past he mostly can’t remember and the bits which he does don’t always shine himself in the best light. He remembers a different world to the one he arrives in and although he wasn’t always a good person I did love him and the connection he built with Nahri. He was the man who introduced her to this other world and the two built a bond from that and helped one another grow.

There was also Prince Ali, one of the sons of the current ruler of Daevabad. I didn’t always love his actions or agree with his opinions but he did add a whole other element to the story. I won’t reveal the reasons why but Dara and Ali didn’t get along or agree on all things. They were on opposite sides of things and I sided much more with Dara on this but Ali wasn’t all bad. He was blunt and interesting and he was a good friend to Nahri even if he was far too blind to the faults of those closest to him.

Amazing World Building

The world Nahri and all of the characters inhabit is such an interesting one. Seeing how the world of the djinn overlapped with the human world was so cool. And then there was the city of Daevabad, that entire city was so interesting. It genuinely felt like a real place. I could visualise that city and the people living in it. It was fully fleshed and so interesting. You can tell that research went into studying the historical period the book is set and also in learning about the cultures which influenced those of the djinn. It wasn’t just one culture but multiple ones which influenced the different types of djinn. I thought it was a highlight of the book how real the world the characters inhabited was.

Family Mystery

Nahri had no knowledge of her own family. She didn’t question her origins too much on the streets of Cairo as she had to spend far more time concentrating on surviving and passing under the radar of the authorities as not all she did was strictly legal. It meant that as time went on and she learnt more about her possible past (and Dara’s past) the more intrigued I was and I just know that this will get explored in the next book (which I totally want in my hands now… I cannot be wishing away the year though). I think the mystery of both her origins and those of Dara led me to get sucked in as you see small hints of the past but there is so much more to be explored as the series progresses.

Djinn! (Or Daeva if You’re That Kind Of Guy)

This was such an original take on djinn. I haven’t read a lot of books featuring djinn anyway, but this one was so unique. The djinn and their society were so interesting. It was so similar to human society anyway which is logical but it was also unique. Each type of djinn had their own culture and each was so individually defined by both appearance but also their beliefs. Their abilities weren’t just chalked up as being magic but instead, there were abilities which folks tended to and then the half djinn, shafits, who were treated as lesser beings. Some of the mixed blood people also possessed abilities and I would be very interested to see why some did and some didn’t. There was the daeva (who took on the original name of the djinn) who were fire-based djinn and there were a large variety of others. The different djinn tribes actually lead on to the next point.

An Interesting Take On Racism and Religion And Class Which We Can All Relate To

One of the elements I liked most about this book is that it showed the mirroring of certain elements of the human world in that of the djinn. As soon as we were introduced to the world of the djinn through the eyes of Ali and then later Nahri it was obvious to me that there was discrimination against the shafts with the view that full-blooded djinn as being superior to those of the half blood shafit. It was similar to the pureblood superiority seen in Harry Potter but in City of Brass it goes beyond that with those in the different djinn tribes having their own rivalries.

The corruption seen in the ruling class of the djinn also meant viewing full blooded djinn as superior to those of the half blood shafits. They also had the view that the Daeva tribe were backward as they had their own religion whilst the rest of the djinn had a new different religion which was adopted and these divisions split the focus of the djinn and weakened them allowing corruption to spread.

I have to say, whilst the divisions in djinn society weren’t always comfortable to read because it made me so angry but it is one thing I love about fantasy reads. Even with its historical setting it was brilliant at highlighting the ingrained biases which occur in society and fantasy is an excellent way of achieving this. It was brilliant!

Have you read this and if so what are your reasons for others to read (if you loved it as much as I did)? And what’s your favourite fantasy read of late?