9

Review : A Crown of Wishes // Finding Yourselves and Falling in Love in a Magical Land

Sparkling Letters Book Blog_ Review-A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi (1)

RATING : 4 Stars

Goodreads • Amazon • The Book Depository

I don’t know if this is a good way to start a positive review but a couple of years ago I read Roshani Chokshi’s first book The Star Touched Queen, and I disliked it so much. I thought it was too insta lovey, too lyrical, and the truth is, it didn’t make a lot of sense. I simply thought that maaaybe Roshani’s writing isn’t for me—because I know plenty of people love it.

So when A Crown of Wishes came out, I wasn’t so eager to read it. But then the reviews started coming and even the people who dislikes TSTQ, loved it. I’m weak for brilliant reviews, so I gave it a chance and I’m glad I did because this was a lot better than The Star Touched Queen.

Let me start by saying that Roshani Chokshi has improved a lot in characterization. While Maya—her protagonist from TSTQ—was lack in personality, Gauri was not. She is fire and sword and sweet things. She’s complicated—strong, and with a heart of gold. I love her character development in the book so much. I also love Vikram aka the fox prince, he’s so charming and fun and smart and God—he’s the perfect match for Gauri.

The romance between them gave me all the mushy feelings in the world. It was slow burn and filled with lots of hilarious banter!! But more than that, I love how Roshani Chokshi portray the love between them. Love is easy and difficult, falling in love is complicated and inevitable—and also risky. You know the narrative in books that when you find the right person everything will magically work out? Let me tell you something, falling in love is s.c.a.r.y. It’s one of the most wonderful feeling in the world, sure, but putting your heart in someone’s hands require so much trust and doesn’t come as easily as books sometimes portray it. So I was really happy to see Gauri didn’t give in so quickly and instead take the time to figure herself out and the relationship itself. I guess parts of the reason I dig the romance in this book is because I relate so much on a personal level 😛

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The plot itself was intriguing, but I think I fall in love more with the idea of the plot than the actual execution. It’s lovely and intriguing and I just love the idea of playing to win a wish, but the execution feels just a little… disjointed. Though if you think about it, it could be traced back into two things, the writing and world building.

The world building felt a little off for me (emphasize on “a little”). Despite its elaborate description, I couldn’t clearly imagine the settings and all the weird creatures so when things happened involving them, I only like 80% understood. The lyrical writing doesn’t really help, but I admit that it was a lot better than TSTQ. I found the gorgeous proses a lot more readable and I did leaf through the book quickly. Plus I’ve recently been in love with lyrical writing, so.

There’s one thing that make me curious though… why is Gauri’s POV in first person but Vikram & Ashaa’s are in third person? Didn’t realize it at first but something did feel a little different and now I wonder why? I think I’d love it better if Vikram’s POV was also in first person, imagine the depth it will bring to the story…

Anyway, deciding on 4 stars rating wasn’t an easy decision—I went back and fourth between 3 and 4 and almost settled with 3.5, but when I got to the ending… I just loved it. I think it was satisfying and wrapped things up nicely, so here are my 4 stars for A Crown of Wishes. Without a doubt, I will add Roshani Chokshi’s next books on my TBR—in fact, I’m thinking of rereading The Star Touched Queen.

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Book Title : A Crown of Wishes
Author : Roshani Chokshi
Publisher : St. Martin’s Griffin
Release Date : March 28th 2017

Gauri, the princess of Bharata, has been taken as a prisoner of war by her kingdom’s enemies. Faced with a future of exile and scorn, Gauri has nothing left to lose. Hope unexpectedly comes in the form of Vikram, the cunning prince of a neighboring land and her sworn enemy kingdom. Unsatisfied with becoming a mere puppet king, Vikram offers Gauri a chance to win back her kingdom in exchange for her battle prowess. Together, they’ll have to set aside their differences and team up to win the Tournament of Wishes – a competition held in a mythical city where the Lord of Wealth promises a wish to the victor.

Reaching the tournament is just the beginning. Once they arrive, danger takes on new shapes: poisonous courtesans and mischievous story birds, a feast of fears and twisted fairy revels.

Every which way they turn new trials will test their wit and strength. But what Gauri and Vikram will soon discover is that there’s nothing more dangerous than what they most desire.

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Have you read A Crown of Wishes? What do you think of it? Let’s TALK—do you ever dislike an author’s book but decide to give them a second chance? And if turn out you love their other books, do you consider rereading the first one you don’t like? I’d love to hear your thoughts! ♥

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2

Review: OBSIDIO // A Perfect Conclusion to a Fantastic Trilogy

Sparkling Letters Book Blog_ Review-Obsidio by Jay Kristoff and Amy Kaufman (5)

RATING : 5 Stars

Goodreads • Amazon • TBD Illuminae Review • Gemina Review

Five stars, without a doubt. This book BROKE me in so many ways possible but I. LOVED. IT!!! This is everything I ever wanted and never asked for all in one : intense, brutal, tragic, comical, sweet, heartbreaking, unpredictable, and more. And frankly I wouldn’t expect anything less for a conclusion to this fantastic trilogy that is so dear to my heart ♥

I might have trouble writing coherent review so bear with me 😛

If you remember my Gemina review, I said that I didn’t enjoy it as much as the first book. I mean, it was mind blowing and all that, but also confusing. A little tad too narrative for my taste and honestly? All the technical sci fi explanation got me all dizzy 😂 I was a little wary Obsidio might disappoint, but it didn’t. Not even for a second.

I don’t know whether it’s because we’ve covered all of the basics in the previous two books, but all the sci-fi, outer space, ships & military & technology aspects in Obsidio are a lot easier to understand. I could read without pausing to think too much about what’s happening 😛

Sparkling Letters Book Blog_ Review-Obsidio by Jay Kristoff and Amy Kaufman (1)

Plot wise, Obsidio successfully delivers the perfect conclusion to the trilogy. After what happened at the end of Gemina, Kady & Ezra and Hanna, Nik, and Ella finally met at the Mao ship and worked through their plan together. There comes the new characters : Asha Grant, Kady’s cousin who’s still in Kerenza along with thousands other survivors and Rhys Lindstorm, her ex-boyfriend who’s now a BeiTech specialist stationed in Kerenza. The dynamic between them is GOLD. It’s almost as good as my darling Kady and Ezra’s. Just as good, dare I say.

In this book, we finally got to see the interaction between all the characters. There are a lot of people involved here, but they have one thing in common : they’re all gray characters. They’re good people who do horrible things, and horrible people doing good deeds. Things are never black and white between these characters and just like AIDAN said, everyone is hero in their own story. It’s just a matter of perspectives.

This book showed us how the crew of Mao worked on their plan to survive, working side by side (though a million galaxies apart) with the survivors of Kerenza. We’re never explicitly told what the plan was, but it’s shown so clearly through the documents that I was mind blown. It was genius. And the plot twist… SO MANY PLOT TWISTS. There are so many things I didn’t see coming, it was all so unpredictable and I loved it. It kept me at the edge of my seat all the time. In fact, I stayed up until 2 in the morning reading this because it was just that good.

Now on to the brutal parts. If you’ve read the first two books, I’m sure you know how brutal this story could get. After all we’ve watched a planet, a ship–no, two ships, and one jump station being blown to pieces, right? What’s the worst that could happen now?  I’m gonna go ahead and tell you not to ask or even consider asking that question because the answer is anything, anything could happen in the book. I had to watch another thousand of deaths and characters I loved died in page. It was tragic and frankly, a little too graphic at some point. All those gunshots and blood and deaths–of children and innocent people nonetheless. I think I had a lot of figurative heart attacks during my read 😦

Some of it are thanks to our (not so) favorite artificial intelligence, AIDAN, whom I used to dislike but now I–sort of–adore. I finally got the appeal, guys. I finally got why you people love AIDAN so much. It’s intriguing. Now that I could understand its motives, what it knows, its calculation, the reasons behind everything it did, I got a little attached. And to see things ended the way it did… well, you have to read for yourself 😛

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Aaaanyway, I have so many more things I want to say about Obsidio, but I realized that all these thoughts and feelings would probably make my reviews confusing and not so helpful, so I might as well stop here. Bottom line is, Obsidio is a fantastic ending to this amazing trilogy and if you ever had any doubt on whether it will disappoint, don’t. It’s gonna blow your mind and sadly break your heart but you wouldn’t mind because it’s just that great.

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24909347Book Title : Obsidio (The Illuminae Files #3)
Author : Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Publisher : Knopf Books
Release Date : March 13th 2018

Kady, Ezra, Hanna, and Nik narrowly escaped with their lives from the attacks on Heimdall station and now find themselves crammed with 2,000 refugees on the container ship, Mao. With the jump station destroyed and their resources scarce, the only option is to return to Kerenza—but who knows what they’ll find seven months after the invasion?

Meanwhile, Kady’s cousin, Asha, survived the initial BeiTech assault and has joined Kerenza’s ragtag underground resistance. When Rhys—an old flame from Asha’s past—reappears on Kerenza, the two find themselves on opposite sides of the conflict.

With time running out, a final battle will be waged on land and in space, heroes will fall, and hearts will be broken.

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Have you read Obsidio or the previous Illuminae Files books? What do you think about it? This is the first book I really loved in a long time so I’d love to hear your thoughts! ♥

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11

Review : Strange the Dreamer // Strange, Beautiful, and Monstrous

Sparkling Letters Book Blog_ Review-Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor (1)

RATING : 45-stars

Goodreads • Amazon • The Book Depository

Strange the Dreamer, much like its title, is strange indeed. Strange, beautiful, exquisite, lovely, and heartbreaking. Exactly what I expected from Laini Taylor. If you know how much I love Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy (A LOT), you’ll be surprised of how long it took for me to finish this book.

I started this not long after its publication date, but then I got bored because it was slow and I was busy and impatient. So I stopped reading at the end of Part I and only picked it up a few days ago—or weeks, by the time this review went up. And boy did I regret not picking it up sooner because I. LOVED. IT. It’s without doubt THE MOST beautiful thing I’ve ever read. Laini Taylor always has her way with words, and it’s straight to my heart because I’m falling in love with her writing all over again.

It’s lyrical, poetic, gorgeous. It’s like lullaby to my eyes but instead of lulling me to sleep, it keeps me awake at nights (see my attempt at extravagant description here? :P) along with its gorgeous writing was its slow pace—which I’m almost sure always go hand in hand. The story build up slowly, full of lush description of people and places and feelings. And feelings, most definitely, because I’m sure I got my heart ripped out all over again. So many feelings of love, hate, despair, hope, and revenge.

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Sarai and Lazlo instantly became my favorite characters. Lazlo with his hope, naivety, and dreams. He’s just so pure I can’t stand horrible things happening to him </3 and Sarai, with her empathy and conflicting feelings that I relate so much on personal level. I know how she feels to stand between two opposite sides and want to try to bridge the difference but gets it all wrong instead. She’s my precious little monster. I love the star-crossed lover dynamic between Lazlo and Sarai so much, but even I have to admit that it was pretty insta-lovey. 

The other characters also have so much depths. I love how Laini Taylor explored their feelings and the reasons why they did what they did. It makes things gray instead of black and white, and I love it. Sparrow, Ruby, Minya, Feral, Azareen, Eril-Fane, Suheyla, they all have their places in my heart.

Just like the pace of the plot, the world building was slow. You don’t instantly get this image of Weep from just reading a chapter or two. But as you slowly read, you’ll see Strange the Dreamer has one of the most vivid world building of ever—Weep is hauntingly beautiful. It’s… it’s gorgeous and mysterious and lovely. And Lazlo’s version of Weep, full of colors and flowers and CAKES. How sad is it that Sarai and Lazlo NEVER even tasted cakes before so they had to imagine the taste for their make-believe?? 😦

Have I mentioned that it was MONSTROUS?? I mean, it”s in the title of the post but I feel like all I’ve been saying was how BEAUTIFUL it is ðŸ˜‚ but it’s also full of blue monsters and it miiiiight remind you of Avatar but this one is so much more gorgeous. Also, brutal and tragic, especially the ENDING I can’t even with that ending </3 though I’m glad we’re only 4 months away from Muse of Nightmares so I don’t have to wait that long.

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All in all, Strange the Dreamer is strange and hauntingly beautiful. With rich and lush writing that would sway you, this book will take you to an amazing adventure. It’s slow, so maybe not the best book for when you’re in the mood for something fast and action packed. The only reasons I’m not giving it full 5 stars are 1) it gets too poetic at several inappropriate moments and 2) it’s too insta lovey—would have been a whole lot better if it was slow burn. But to redeem it, it’s also full of feelings and you’ll probably cry but ALSO IN LOVE WITH THE BOOK ♥♥♥

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strangeBook Title : Strange the Dreamer
Author : Laini Taylor
Publisher : Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date : March 28th 2017

The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around—and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance or lose his dream forever.

What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?

The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries—including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo’s dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? And if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?

Welcome to Weep.

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Have you read Strange the Dreamer or any other books from Laini Taylor? What do you think about it? Do you love lyrical and poetic writings and slow paced books? I’d love to hear your thoughts! ♥

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13

My Bookish Life During Hiatus

SPARKLING LETTERS BOOK BLOG_ MY BOOKISH LIFE DURING HIATUS

Hello everyone! ♥

Welcome back to another post of me 😀 I’m sooo excited to be back here, but I’m still pretty out of ideas so today, I’m gonna be talking about my bookish life during hiatus. As you probably know, I just got back from a 1-year-and-2-months hiatus which also  happened to be a period of long reading slump. But that doesn’t mean I completely cut off my relationship with books—that would be impossible because books are my life. So anyway, here’s a quick recap of what I’ve been up to in terms of books!

Books I read

This is a little hard to track because I stopped using goodreads for a while, but on top of my head here are some books I read during my hiatus :

If you see the pictures above, you’d find out that I mostly only read local books. It’s because they’re easier to find—I don’t have any international bookstore on my current city—and they’re frankly easier to digest. I mean, it’s my mother tongue so I can read faster 😛

  1. RESIGN by Almira Bastari. A highly amusing NA romance comedy highlighting the relationship between an employee and her supervisor. Quick, comical, witty, and just what I need to read after a hectic day at work.
  2. AROMA KARSA by Dee Lestari. Dee is my favorite Indonesian writer and I love her Supernova series so much. This one is a stand alone about two people with exceptional sense of smell and an ambitious women “exploiting” the gifts for her own purpose. It’s a little fantasy meet historical fiction meet contemporary but it worked so well. I’m really hoping for a sequel though.
  3. AUTOBOYOGRAPHY by Christina Lauren. It centers on a m/m relationship between a student with supportive parents and his tutor, who happens to be a mormon. It’s set in a writing class where the students are asked to write a whole book by the end of the semester. There are a lot of things I love, but it was unfortunately a bit slow for me.
  4. OBSIDIO by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff. The book that got me out of reading slump. Intense, brutal, unpredictable. Not gonna say anything more because I’ve already written an 800 words review, just wait and see 😛

I’m quite sure I read more than ONLY 4 books this year but I just can’t remember anything more 🙈 I did read a little part of Warcross, When Dimple Met Rishi, and Strange the Dreamer but at the moment I couldn’t focus so I put them on hold for now.

Books I Bought

I might not read much lately but I still shopped for books every time I got the chance ðŸ˜‚ here are some of the books I bought so far.

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Here are some of the others. No photo because they’re at my place and I’m currently at my parents’ house for Eid holiday.

When you’re not in the mood to read, then you’re simply not in the mood. Even if these shiny books keep waving at me. Of all the books I bought, I think Obsidio is the only one I finished. I thought for sure that it’s a contemporary book that would get me out of my slump because that’s what usually happens, but turned out I was wrong. I got completely immersed while reading Obsidio and I stayed up until 2 in the morning to finish the 615 pages book because it was just that great ðŸ˜‚

Anyway, now that I thiiiink I’m finally in the mood to read again, I’m gonna go through all these books slowly. I’m thinking of starting Children of Blood and Bone, Leah and the Offbeat, and picking up Warcross and Strange the Dreamer where I left off before. What do you think? Are there any books from above that you think I should read first?

Books to Movie Adaptation

Surprisingly, I watched quite a lot of movies this past year. A lot more than I usually did. I remember watching several books to movie adaptation, but the only one I remember was Ready Player One 🙈 it wasn’t the best story I’ve ever seen but it was enjoyable! I had so much fun watching the movie and it made me want to read the book—or read Warcross, because I’ve been told Warcross is a much, much better version.

Ohhh I also watched and read Susah Sinyal. Instead of book to movie, it’s a movie to book adaptation. The movie came out on December 2017, directed by my favorite Ernest Prakasa. It’s a family movie about the dynamic between a single mother and her daughter. It’s so heartwarming, so when I heard there would be a book and that my favorite author Ika Natassa will co-write it, I WAS DEFINITELY IN!! It didn’t disappoint because the book brings out much more feelings and depth into the story that the movie lacked of.

Oh well, that;s another book I read during my hiatus but I’m too lazy to go back up and edit, so 😛

Writing

I don’t know if you remember, but I do have a writing project I started at the beginning of last year. You can read it here. I know I made it my resolution to finish the first draft by the end of the year and I still haven’t BUT it’s not like I didn’t make any progress!! I’ve actually written the ending but there are still a lot of plot holes and I couldn’t figure out how to fill them. I also did make a lot of edits. And I, um…. actually started another project ðŸ˜‚

I wrote around 5 chapters and haven’t picked it up anymore hahaha fingers crossed I’ll get back to it soon! ♥

Book Blogs I Read

It’s sad to say that I’ve completely failed at keeping up with book blogs I follow </3 since I announced my hiatus, I’ve probably only opened my wordpress reader a couple of times and my Bloglovin feed none at all. (Speaking of my country BLOCKED access to Bloglovin along with Tumblr what a lame government!!!). Sometimes I did click through the link to posts I found on Twitter, but I never stayed long enough to read until the end. But there is this blog I found through Twitter called Snark Squad—you could tell from the name that the blog basically only snarks at bad books. And boy it was so fun to read!!

I think I spent a month or two reading it every single day. There are a lot of funny ones, even of the books I enjoyed, but my favorites gotta be about Fifty Shades series. The series was SO BAD it’s ridiculous. They snark it chapter by chapter and it’s like I’m reliving the stories through their eyes. Except the snarks are way better and funnier than the original stories 😛

Here are the links in case you’re interested. Or in need of a laugh.

Fifty Shades of GreyFifty Shades Darker Fifty Shades Freed

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Well well well, I guess that’s all I can share about my life in terms of books. Do you think there are things I possibly missed? Hmm anywayyy, how’s your reading life so far? Ready any fantastic books lately? I’m in desperate need of recommendations! Oh, and are there any book blogs you’re loving lately? Please link me! I want to follow more bloggers 😀

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Review: History is All You Left Me // Character Driven, Complex, and Beautiful

Sparkling Letters Book Blog- Review-History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera (2).jpg

RATING : 3-stars

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It’s a little disappointing to see that I’ve fallen into the hype. In case you didn’t know, I loved More Happy Than Not and this book is honestly one of my most anticipated releases this year. This is gonna be an unpopular opinion but unfortunately, I wasn’t impressed.

History is All You Left me follows the story of Griffin, a high school senior whose ex-boyfriend Theo just died in a drowning accident. Theo was Griff’s best friend, first love, and probably end game as well. They broke up before Theo went to college in California. In there Theo started a new relationship with Jackson, despite saying that Griff would be his end game as well. Continue reading

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Review : The Hate U Give // Powerful, Important, and Provocative

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RATING : 5 Stars

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Five stars and more, and I don’t think any reviews will ever do this book justice. It’s so powerful, wonderful, and undoubtedly the most important and honest book I’ve ever read in my life.

As could be inferred from the blurb, The Hate U Give was inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement. Going into this book, I almost didn’t know what to expect. I heard it was amazing, unapologetic, and possibly one of the best books everyone’s ever read. But still, I didn’t know what to expect. What I got was so much… more, than I could have expected. This book was so honest, strong, brilliant, and it evoked so many emotions in me. Hours after reading that last page, I’m still reeling with my emotion. There are so many things I want to discuss about this book. Continue reading

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Reviewing on Goodreads and on the Blog: is There Any Difference?

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Hello everyone! ♥

Welcome back to another discussion post 😀 today we’ll talking about reviewing books on different platforms and if there’s any difference between them. A few weeks ago I stumbled across a blogging tip post that talks about the difference between reviewing books on goodreads and on our blog and the blogger said that it should be different. It surprised me a little because I’m that kind of reviewer who practically copies-and-pastes my goodreads reviews to my blog 😁 Continue reading