Top 5 Wednesday: Independant Ladies

Top Five Wednesday is a weekly meme created by Lainey @GingerReadsLaineyand she has passed down the torch to Sam @ThoughtsOnTomes. For more information and for future topics you can check out the goodreads group.

Further explanation on the topic: Favorite leading ladies who aren’t distracted from getting shit done by their love interest! In no particular order:

1. Hermione from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

How could I write this post without talking about Hermione? Maybe it’s a basic answer to the question, but it’s still a very obvious one and very accurate one. Harry and Ron would have died in book one without Hermione (and I’m not even talking about the rest of the series!), so do I really need to explain further?

hermione

// The Brightest Witch of her Age //

2. Kiko from Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman

She’s the new addition to my every growing list of favourite characters! Kiko has to deal with many things in her life including anxiety and an abusive mother, and she makes the decision of dealing with it on her own, and taking care of herself before getting into a relationship, which is both mature and brave, and the reason why she most definitely deserves a spot on this list!

3. Inej from Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

It is very clear from the start that Inej can take care of herself, and she makes in even clearer throughout the duology. She faces near-death experiences pretty much every day, and has saved Kaz’s ass countless times. She’s one of the most badass characters I have ever read about ♥

4. Delilah Bard from the Shade of Magic trilogy by Victoria Schwab

Schwab is definitely an author who know how to write fantastic, strong female character, and Delilah Bard is a perfect example of that. She takes shit from no one, is the first person from Grey London to switch realms, decides to become a pirate just because she can, learnt to use her magic pretty much on her own, and even if she can sometimes do questionable stuff, she is the ULTIMATE independant lady.

5. Tie-in: Annabeth Chase from the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan, and Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins

The last slot on the list will be shared between two equally amazing ladies who both went through a lot, because I simply can’t choose between the two of them! They both knew how to fight pretty incredibly and in their own way, and both knew how to set priorities in their lives. In the list of characters who have been an inspiration in my life, they both deserve a spot ♥

katniss

// THAT’S MAHOGANY //

Anyway, thanks for reading!

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Top 5 Wednesday: Nostalgic Ships

Top Five Wednesday is a weekly meme created by Lainey @GingerReadsLaineyand she has passed down the torch to Sam @ThoughtsOnTomes. For more information and for future topics you can check out the goodreads group.

As it turns out, this weeks theme is a perfect follow up for the “Fandoms I’m No Longer In” I did last week, and I was swiped up once again in feelings of nostalgia towards fandomw I’m no longer obsessively a part of.


1. Sam & Kent from Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

This is the first couple that came to my mind when I read the prompt for this week. I read Before I Fall back in 2012 I think, and they gave me BUTTERFLIES in my stomach. I was so rooting for them. I think that’s the moment I discovered shipping, before I even knew that such a word existed (that was before I made a tumblr account!Before I Fall will always be a special book to me because of that.

2. Emma and Dexter from One Day by David Nicholls

Em & Dex is another bookish couple I will never get over. I was so obsessed with this book when I first read it – it was one of the first book I read in English and I couldn’t have picked a better one. This book was SO BEAUTIFUL and heartbreaking at the same time. It pretty much defines me in terms of my reading journey. I literally made my whole family climb Arthur’s Seat when we were in Edinburgh just because they did it in the book.

3. Katniss and Peeta from The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins

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I was so obsessed with them back in 2012 when I first got my tumblr account. And besides the whole SHIPPING thing, I just love how they complete each other, and still are there for one another after all they’ve been through – together and separately. They just make sense together in my opinion. Just like their relationship should remain secondary to the whole TAKING DOWN THE GOVERNMENT business that was happening through the trilogy.

4. Clarke and Bellamy from The 100 by Kass Morgan

Okay, this one is a bit of a cheat since I’m very much still in The 100 fandom, but I can say without lying that I’m clearly not as obsessed with it as I used to be during season one and two (which I have both seen at least 5 times I am pretty sure). I did really like Clarke’s relationship with Lexa though, and later with Niylah, and also thought that Bellamy getting together with Echo was totally predictable. But, you know, they’re still canon in the books, so we’re not giving up.

bellarke hug

// so much has happened since then… //

5. Callum and Sephy from Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman

I read this book 10 years ago (feels weird but it’s true!) and it’s another book I will never forget. Their love story was impossible from the start and ended in drastic heartbreaking measures. I will never forget how much I was rooting for them, and how much I cried when it ended. In addition to that, this book is a dystopia and discusses racism, which is probably one of the first book I read on this topic as I was 13 and innocent. I actually never got around finishing this series because my local library didn’t have all the books, but one day I will definitely reread the whol thing, because oh boy it was worth it. And yes I am willing to go through that heartbreak again. I think.


And that’s it for this week, thank you so much for reading, I had a lot of fun making this post! And as usual, feel free to share your Top 5 Nostalgic ships in the comments!

Thoughts on Michelle Obama’s Book BECOMING

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Title: Becoming
Author: Michelle Obama
Genre: Non Fiction, Memoir
Release: 2018
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

What this book is about:

From her early childhood in South Side Chicago, to her life after leaving the White House, Michelle Obama retraces her journey, and explains how she became who she is today. She gets through all the steps, from kindergarten to law school to her first job to meeting Barrack, all the election days, the campaigns, the life in the White House, to the woman she is now today. I personally listened to the audiobook narrated by Michelle Obama herself and I really loved it.

[Something I would occasionally think about while reading this book. Source: New Girl season 6 episode 11.]

Thoughts:

I’d been meaning to pick up this book ever since I learnt that it was a thing, and I’m so glad I just did. The narration by the author — and ex first lady — herself was definitely a bonus. Overall, it was clever and enjoyable. It’s so easy to really get into the story and the narration, and that definitely made it an interesting read. This book was both moving and inspiring, and I would recommend it one hundred percent.

Even if I pretty much knew what was going to happen next, every time Michelle Obama recalled holding her breath before an election result I couldn’t help but feel the suspense with her, which made me enjoy the book so much more!

Overall, Becoming was a truly inspiring book. I couldn’t help but admire Michelle Obama — even more than I did before — because of the amazing journey she went through. She switched careers three times before becoming the first lady, and that is so reassuring as a 23 years old. She truly gave me hope for my life, and made me want to be a better person. It was also interesting to get an insight into the life at the White House. This book made me want to pick up more of what she’d written! It’s impossible to even fathom what her life is right now / has been like as a first lady, but it was definitely nice to get a glimpse of it through Becoming.

I am a huge fan of memoirs and autobiographies in general, and this has become an instant favourite — possibly even more so than I would have imagined. Quite a few times, when people would ask me what I was reading in January, I would get really excited and start talking about Becoming and how great it is. Anyway, I guess my point is that this book is brilliant, and I loved it. If you still need me to write it down for you: go pick up Becoming 👏

After reading Can We All Be Feminists? it made so much sense to read something by an influential woman such as Michelle Obama, who had to fight her way through everything, and especially prejudice, day after day. Yet again, this is something that I can hardly fathom, but I’m trying my best to educate myself, and open my eyes in a better way. Reading this book was just one of the many things that contributed!


Thanks for reading up until now, and I hope you will pick up Becoming!

January Wrap Up

And yet another month has gone by! Here’s the list of books that I have read this month:

Can We All Be Feminists? edited by June Eric-Udorie ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
It took me quite some time actually but I finally finished this series of essays about intersectional feminism and it was absolutely fantastic. Very diverse and well written. I would definitely recommend it.

L’arbre des possibles by Bernard Werber ⭐⭐⭐⭐
I listened to the adiobook of this collection of short stories. It was unexpected, funny and original, I honestly enjoyed it more than I thought I would!

Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
A stunning coming of age story featuring a Japanese-American teen as she struggles between her anxiety and childhood trauma, her abusive mom and her passion for art. This book was BEAUTIFUL and you should read it.
(Full review)

I’m Every Woman by Liv Strömquist ⭐⭐⭐⭐
This one is a Swedish comic book about feminism which was published in 2018. I’m not sure whether it has been translated to English but if you get the opportunity to read it, then you definitely should!

Becoming by Michelle Obama ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
This book had been on my TBR pretty much ever since I heard about its release, and I finally read it — or rather listened to it, narrated by Obama herself. It was both moving and inspiring, and I can only recommend! (RTC)

The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
I rarely pick up books the moment they are released (at least not as much as I want to!) but I managed to do that for The Gilded Wolves and it was worth every minute of it. It combines an incredibly diverse cast, a heist and one of my favourite settings ever: Paris at the time of the Exposition Universelle. I loved it.
(Full review)

Charlotte Impératrice vol.1 by Fabien Nury and Matthieu Bonhomme ⭐⭐⭐⭐
A semi-historical comic book about Charlotte of Belgium, her marriage to Maximillian — the brother of Emperor Franz-Joseph 1st of Austria — and how she became Empress of Mexico in 1864, also known as Carlota of Mexico. The drawings are lovely, and as much as this is fictionalised, it’s also inspired by real life events, and therefore super interesting, and I really enjoyed it!

Valerian & Laureline: The Complete Series, vol. 3 by Christin & Mezieres ⭐⭐⭐⭐
This one is a French science-fiction comic book series from the 70s that follows a couple of time-travelers. It has a similar vibe to Star Wars or Doctor Who; if you like those, then I’d recommend it! As I am trying to improve my knowledge of the infamous French “Bande Dessinée”, this is a must read, and I have to admit I enjoy it more than I thought I would!

Currently reading:

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green
Romanesque by Lorant Deutsch
I Custodi Dei Maser by Massimiliano Frezzato

TV shows I’ve been watching:

Modern Family ✨ YOU (thoughts) ✨ Sex Education ✨ Brooklyn Nine Nine
The Good Place ✨ Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt


An update on my reading challenges:

Goodreads Challenge: 8/70 Books
Audiobook Challenge: 2 Books
YARC: 2 Books


Thank you so much for reading! I think I’m going to adopt this format for my reading wrap ups now, featuring a few sentences about each book. Because after all, the reason why I started this blog was to talk about books, and I sometimes feel that just giving a list/title/rating is not enough! This way, even if I don’t write a review for every single book I read, I still give you more than just a rating ~

The Gilded Wolves: My Review

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As soon as I heard about this book, I knew that I had to read it. It is set in Paris during the Exposition Universelle, and that’s basically my favourite thing to read about (even if it must not have been that great a place to live in terms of HUMAN RIGHTS, I still find it absolutely fascinating). So like the good bookworm that I am, I preordered it on my Kindle so that I would get it right away upon its release, and believe it or not and probably for the first time ever, I started reading it on its release day!

Written by an author of both Filipina and Indian descent, The Gilded Wolves is the second book on my list for YARC 2019 (link to my announcement post). It also features an incredibly diverse cast of characters from all over the world, many of them struggling with their identity as their parents come from different origins (for example, Enrique is Spanish and Filipino, and Séverin’s father was French while his mother was Algerian). This is the first time I read one of Roshani Chokshi’s books, but it definitely will not be the last!

Oh and before I dive further into the ramble of emotions that this book turned me into, and I know that my black & white kindel doesn’t do it justice, HOW GORGEOUS IS THAT COVER? I love it so much.

Title: The Gilded Wolves
Author: Roshani Chokshi
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Historical Fiction
Release: January 2019
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Possible trigger warnings for racism and antisemitism

Goodreads summary:

Paris, 1889: The world is on the cusp of industry and power, and the Exposition Universelle has breathed new life into the streets and dredged up ancient secrets. In this city, no one keeps tabs on secrets better than treasure-hunter and wealthy hotelier, Séverin Montagnet-Alarie. But when the all-powerful society, the Order of Babel, seeks him out for help, Séverin is offered a treasure that he never imagined: his true inheritance.

To find the ancient artifact the Order seeks, Séverin will need help from a band of experts: An engineer with a debt to pay. A historian who can’t yet go home. A dancer with a sinister past. And a brother in all but blood, who might care too much.

Together, they’ll have to use their wits and knowledge to hunt the artifact through the dark and glittering heart of Paris. What they find might change the world, but only if they can stay alive.

I tried to make my own summary of the story like I usually do, but it didn’t do the story justice so I picked up the one from Goodreads, hopefully it makes more sense than whatever ramble I would have written.

My opinion:

Secret societies? Magic-like powers? Paris during the Exposition Universelle? An incredibly diverse cast of characters? Count me in! For every single one of those aspects! This book really awoke the history nerd in me, I was just reading and fangirling about the 19th century Paris streets, and Zofia’s science lab, and the Tuileries Garden, and the Eiffel Tower having just been built, and all the fantastic buildings the characters walked into. I really appreciated how historically accurate the setting was, it was full of little references, and at the same time challenging the mentality of the time, with its racism — Séverin being denied his father’s title because of his Algerian mother, or the idées reçues against Laila because of her origins, and how she challenged them — or antisemitism with Zofia’s character being unfairly judges by her classmates because of her origins. Overall, that made for a very accurate portrayal of the timen while challenging its problematic aspects. I also appreciated how much it dealt with mental health through the characters of Tristan (PTSD symptoms) and Zofia (autism spectrum). And of course my heart was warmed by my precious bisexual and nerdy baby Enrique. He was relatable in many aspects.

“Enrique used to feel a twinge of shame when it came to his feelings… He used to pray that when it came to attraction, his body would just choose between men and women, and not both.”

There is so much I want to say about this book, I don’t even know where to start. I absolutely loved the amazing cast of characters, which sometimes reminded me of the just-as-fantastic team of Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo — mostly in the first half of the book. I really loved the setting, both geographical and historical. The Gilded Wolves was there to remind its reader of how glamourous 1889 Paris could be, but also how flawed it still was when it came to colonialsm for example: in case you didn’t know, the Exposition was also a “Colonial Exhibition” including villages of actual people who were there just to be observed, basically like a human zoo. This is not glamorous at all, this is so blatantly problematic and it is important not to forget about this very sad aspect of our history, and I’m so glad Roshani Chokshi decided to deal with it in her book.

not my daughter

An accurate representation of me every time something remotely bad happened to any of the characters… Although they can pretty much all KICK ASS and don’t need my protection!!

The plot of the book was full of twists, and the main villain entity was not clear from the start which is something I really appreciated, as it can be really refreshing compared to other books I have read! I didn’t find it predictable at all, which was definitely a plus. I also really enjoyed the writing. There were some times where the plot confused me a little bit, but I didn’t really mind that much, and I still wholeheartedly think that The Gilded Wolves deserves FIVE STARS. It was brilliant and original, while also heartbreaking sometimes — but isn’t it what makes a good book?

5/5, definitely would recommend, possibly with a box of tissues by your side

Top 5 Wednesday Freebie: Fandoms You Are No Longer In

Top Five Wednesday is a weekly meme created by Lainey @GingerReadsLaineyand she has passed down the torch to Sam @ThoughtsOnTomes. For more information and for future topics you can check out the goodreads group.

This week is a freebie, and after going through a lot of past themes, I found the perfect one: Fandoms You Are No Longer In. It’s actually from quite along time ago, but it really inspired me. I have been very active on tumblr fandom-wise since I joined the website back in 2012, so of course there have been things coming and going, which is why I thought that this topic was so perfect. Through the years, Harry Potter has been quite consistent, but I think it’s the only fandom that has, really, been showing up on my blog regularly. Along with shitpost but, you know, that’s not a fandom. Anyway, this topic also gives me the opportunity to talk about TV shows along with books, and I hope you enjoy it! Here are five fandoms are am no longer (actively) part of.


The Hunger Games

Both the books & the movies. I remember when I first joined tumblr, THG was all over my dash, featuring #everlark and so on. I loved those books so much when I first read them. I remember crying at 2am when I finished Catching Fire, and texting my friend so she could bring me the sequel on the very next day. I even went to the premiere of Mockingjay part.1, that’s how dedicated I was. I have reread the books several times. And my mockingjay pin is one of the first book merch I ever got, back when I joined Bookstagram. So yeah, this fandom was really important to me, but for some reason I have now drifted away from it.

thg

Divergent

I remember when I first read Divergent, one of my friends had told me she had been disappointed, so I didn’t set my hopes too high, but I ended up really loving it. Insurgent was fine, and so was the collection of short stories. I believe my Book vs. Movie post about Allegiant is actually one of my most viewed posts. But as the fandom slowly died away, so did my interest in this series it seems. I honestly wasn’t a huge fan of the ending, and was confused by a lot of aspects of this series. I even ended up giving the books away to my cousin, because I know she loves them way more than I do.

Once Upon A Time

I got into this show when I was in my second year of college I believe, and binge-watched it in a few weeks. Then I had to wait every week to stream the episode on Monday nights. I really loved it at that point, I even started to write some fanfiction about it (which I never finished). Truthfully, one of my favourite characters died in season 3 and it really broke my heart but I kept watching, although the story really went all over the place. I think I stopped watching around season 5 and now I have no idea if this show is even still happening? I completely lost interest in it, which is surprising to myself, considering how much I love retellings.

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Merlin (BBC series)

Along with The Hunger Games, Merlin was one of the things I was really obsessed with when I first joined tumblr. I was reblogging so many gifsets, and I think it’s with this show that I truly discovered the beauty that is shipping a technically non canon couple to your death bed (Merthur anyone?). Now I haven’t completely lost interest in the series, and to be honest, I really consider rewatching it at some point because I really loved it. I just incuded it on the list because I wanted to talk about it. Nowadays, the fandom is rare on my dash, but I still reblog it sometimes with fondness. ♥

The KDRAMA Fandom

And finally, last but not least, how can I talk about fandom without talking about kdrama? Kdrama got me through high school, and my first years of college. I spent so much time binge watching them, and fangirling over them with my best friend, and on forums. It was amazing. A good example of that is how I watched Reply 1997 in one sitting. It has 17 episode of one hour. I was that dedicated. I was also such a huge fan of School 2013. I actually had a blog with my best friend, back in the days, where we talked about kdrama. I invested so much of my time in this fandom, it was wonderful. Now it’s not really the case anymore, but I still watch a drama or two from time to time, and definitely enjoy them!


And that’s it for today! I really had a lot of fun writing this article & I hope you enjoyed it!

Top 5 Wednesday: Top of my TBR

Top Five Wednesday is a weekly meme created by Lainey @GingerReadsLaineyand she has passed down the torch to Sam @ThoughtsOnTomes. For more information and for future topics you can check out the goodreads group.


The theme for this week’s Top 5 Wednesday is “Top of your TBR” and it feels like I’m going to talk about the same books I’ve been wanting to picks up for weeks months and still haven’t picked up but here goes the list! And hopefully I WILL pick up those very soon!

City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab

I’ve been talking about this book ever since its released day, I had even preordered it, and its been sitting on my shelves ever since… I promise I will pick it up soon, I have no excuse, really. I just need to finish some of the books that I’m currently reading, and they’re all so good, and then, I’ll read City of Ghosts.

The Vegetarian by Han Kang

I’ve been meaning to read this books for years, and I have now owned it for a bunch of months, and yet I haven’t read it yet. It deals with a topic that is dear to my heart as I’m a vegetarian, and it honestly looks super interesting. Hopefully I pick that one up soon as well. I know it was already on the list the last time I did a TBR related T5W.

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green

Another book I was highly anticipating, and actually haven’t read once it was released. I honestly heard so many great things about this one, I can’t wait to dive into it. I really think Hank Green is awesome, so his book can only be awesome too, right?

Wildcard by Marie Lu

I read Warcross soon after its own release date if I remember correctly and really enjoyed it, so of course I was highly anticipating its sequel. I was really waiting for it, and then it was released and I somehow forget about it. I heard mixed reviews about it but I personally can’t wait to see what happens to Emika. Hopefully I will pick up this one soon as well — for now it’s quietly waiting on my Kindle.

Unsouled by Neal Shusterman (Unwind #3)

I started reading the UNWIND dystology over the summer, knowing that they were my cousin’s favourite books, but somehow with low expectations. I ended up really loving the first and the second book, but I never got around reading the third one for some reason. I also have it on my Kindle, so hopefully I read this one sooner than later as well!


Thanks for reading, feel free to share the books on top of your TBR in the comments, I’d love to talk!