#Maysia Final Wrap-Up!

#Maysia Final Wrap-Up!

Hello! I know I disappeared for quite some time, with lockdown restrictions lifting here in the UK, it meant that I had to return to work which means life is basically one big mess at the moment. While I enjoy waitressing at my current place, I’m trying to look for post-graduation jobs. I’ve been looking for full-time work since last summer and this whole year of job searching has taken a toll on me mentally. But I think I’m starting to feel a lot better and it completely slipped my mind to update my #Maysia progress on here! If you need a refresher on #Maysia, I’ve included the original Twitter thread below!

Start from the beginning! If you haven’t seen Day 1 – 21 yet, you can check out the beginning of the twitter thread here! or see their blogs posts, week 1, week 2 and week 3!

Continue reading “#Maysia Final Wrap-Up!”

Books I Wish I Could Read Again for the First Time

Books I Wish I Could Read Again for the First Time

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature once hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, but has now moved to That Artsy Reader Girl! Each week, a new topic is put into place and bloggers share their top ten (or your own amount) accordingly. This week’s topic is Book You Want to Read Again, so I decided to adapt it slightly to books you wish you could read again for the first time. Because there of them, way more than ten, and if you’ve been following me long enough, half of this list should not be a surprise.

  1. The Poppy War by R.F Kuang
    This is one of many books that really go without saying many words. To quote me back in 2018, “Believe the hype. It is truly worth it.” Two years later and this story STILL lives in my mind rent-free. I would happily erase my mind to see Rin, Kitay and Nezha meet again for the first time. 
  2. Jade City by Fonda Lee
    I first read Jade City last year, and I have already re-read it three times. I’m currently in the middle of a read-along to re-read Jade City and Jade War again. I think it’s safe to say that I don’t wish I could reread this for the first time, I just want to re-read this series all the time. 
  3. Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine
    Listen, the way I would do anything to experience the same form of happiness I felt when I discovered Khalila Seif for the first time is unreal. Rachel Caine was always more known for her Morganville series and her adult fictions, but I will never shut up about this series. I feel like this series is way underappreciated in YA. A definite re-read is in order. 
  4. The Name of the Star by Maureen Johhnson
    My sister bought me a copy of this because my favourite youtuber at the time, charlieissocoollike, had talked about it. And I never would have expected to have liked it so much. I remember spending one summer just re-reading it because I loved it so much. The later books in the series were decent, but I would have been satisfied if this was just a standalone as well. I really loved the concept, and the way Maureen Johnson used Jack the Ripper was so interesting.  
  5. Thief by Malorie Blackman
    I had read this book way before I discovered any sort of book community online. I think I mentioned it before that I picked it up by accident. I think this might have been my first ever dystopian book and Malorie Blackman book. I vaguely remember being really scared of this book, like a lot.  
  6. Angelfall by Susan Ee
    I associate Angelfall with a particular moment in my life, the first year of college to be exact. Which is when I started my site and one of the few years of education where I wasn’t stressed out, and I was actually quite happy with my life. A friend of mine from my gaming class had recommended it to me, and we were so obsessed with talking about it all the time. I think one of my first reviews was Angelfall. The sequels didn’t live up to my expectations but getting to experience Angelfall at the time I did was so memorable. 
  7. The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
    I think this one doesn’t need any explaining. I know, you know, we know. Let’s move on.  
  8. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
    I’ve mentioned this before, but I was the girl obsessed with THG in secondary school. Like seriously obsessed. Somewhere in the attic are all my old Hunger Games memorabilia collecting dust. This is another book/series where I associated it to a specific timeframe in my life: secondary school before the fear of GCSEs really settled in and life was probably the least stressed I had ever been. Consider this another apology if you knew me during my Hunger Games phase, even I die a little bit inside thinking about it. 
  9. The Foxhole Court series by Nora Sakavic
    Some questionable stuff happens in this series, but nothing remains as iconic as Kevin saying “Did you know I’ve never been skiing? I’d like to try it one day, though.” to a bunch of reporters. 
  10. The Astonishing Colour of After by Emily X.R. Pan

This is one of those books that was so dream-like to read. It’s very low conflict and very character-driven. I’m not someone who get emotional that easily but the ending to this book had me sobbing like a brand new person.

What’s on your TTT this week? Leave me a link or let me know in the comments

Retrospective: Morganville Vampires (#1 – #3)

This post was almost complete before the news that Rachel Caine had passed away was announced. Rachel Caine is an author whose words quite literally inspired me to become a reader. So writing this now feels more bittersweet than I had expected. As per Sarah’s announcement, I’ll be making a donation to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of American Emergency Medical Fund in her name.

Retrospective is a blog series where I’ll be re-reading books and series that I had read during my childhood and early teen years. What better way to start this new blog series is beginning with the series that I think kickstarted my love for books. I was a very casual reader as a child, only because my access to books was minimal – I had only read books that my sister had on her bookshelf or whatever my primary school provided. My sister had just started college and using her EMA money; she bought the Morganville Vampires. And I probably wanted to copy everything she was doing, so I picked up the series as well. I don’t know what it was, but ten-year-old-me was obsessed with this series. And I wanted to re-read the series for a while now, mainly to remember some of the finer details of the series and to see how the story holds up to me currently as a twenty-two-year-old young adult, rather than as pre-teen. My standards and taste in books as certainly changed. But my love for vampires hasn’t so….

If you don’t know anything about Morganville, here’s a summary:

College freshman Claire Danvers has had enough of her nightmarish dorm situation. When Claire heads off-campus, the imposing old house where she finds a room may not be much better. Her new roommates don’t show many signs of life, but they’ll have Claire’s back when the town’s deepest secrets come crawling out, hungry for fresh blood. Will she be able to face the town’s terror or will she drown like everyone else?

There are fifteen books in the main series, so I’ll be splitting this post into small posts, so I’m not just chucking down a block of text at anyone reading this. But, I hope you enjoy this retrospective, I cannot guarantee it will be something coherent or engrossing, it’s mainly a brain dump of me reminiscing on the series. And oh do I have some feelings about this series.

Please note that the Retrospective series will contain many spoilers.

Glass Houses

The biggest thing that surprised me about Glass Houses was how short this book was? At first, I thought it’s just my memory fog and nostalgia. But then I realised, my child brain quite literally mashed the events of Glass Houses and Dead Girls Dance together because there is no time skip between the two and I most likely read them both one after the other.

Glass Houses is mainly about Claire Danvers as she is forced out of school dorms due to bullies. She miraculously makes her way to Glass House where she meets Michael, Eve and Shane, who inform her that Morganville is a city of Vampires. And the students are unaware of it all. It’s real residents; however, are aware and do their best not to gain any bad attention. Those protected wear a bracelet, naming their protector. But Claire finds herself joining the three people who hate the city the most. And leaving the dorms isn’t as easy as she thought it could be.

The first book revolves around Claire and her search for a rare book that holds deep vampire secrets. Like, I said, it’s relatively short, but we are introduced to the main cast and secondary characters who are staples in the series. Monica and her brother brought back some deep-set anger. I forgot how much I hated her, damn. We meet Amelie, the leader and oldest vampire in the world, and the story of Morganville slowly comes together.

Reading this in 2020 was a lot of fun, there’s a lot of quips and jokes that were on-brand for the early and mid-2000s. I think Shane was playing a PSP and I laughed so hard because back then, I thought Shane was so ~ cool ~. After all, he had one. Now, in 2020, I’m playing Ghost of Tsushima on the PS4, and now that I think about it, Shane and Michael would have both loved that game as much as I do.

The best part of reading this was just remembering Morganville. A weird Texan town that was home to a secret society of vampires. The idea of vampires living in one of the hottest places in the USA was so funny to me.

Seeing Claire make her way up to Glass House, her not knowing what’s to come, had me screaming. When Eve enters in her full-on goth outfits, Shane and his constant supply of chilli, and Michael being very elusive, it felt so nice to be re-introduced to all these old favourites.

The ending of this book had me spinning out as a kid. I was SO mad at Michael’s “death”, mostly since he was my favourite out of the Glass House residents. Shane’s story was the saddest, but as a character, I think I grew to love him more by Midnight Alley. I liked the angst, but I think it was too much for me as a child. Michael was a sweetheart character.

The Dead Girls’ Dance

Michael coming back to life just in time to save Claire and Eve was iconic. This book is a lot more eventful than Glass Houses; I’m not surprised that I mixed up the plots when I was younger because you put these two books together, and with a little more editing, could easily pass as one book. Now that I think about it, if I had to give some sort of critique as an older reader, I feel like the earlier books in this series could have been put together to cut down and I don’t think it would have affected the quality whatsoever.

Re-reading this book has made me particularly aware of how much my tastes have changed. There’s a lot in this book that I shrugged off as a kid, but now as an adult, I’m like “huh, not a fan of that,” and continued reading. I always loved Claire, but it took me so long to warm up to Shane. I respected that he put up some boundaries between him and Claire. His backstory is so damn tragic, this town has ruined him the most, and I’ve always rooted for him to be better. There’s just something I can’t quite put my finger on that unsettles me about him. Or maybe this was just me not yet realising that the romance aspects of books aren’t the hook for me as it would be for other readers.

Michael deciding to become a vampire was such a plot twist for young me. Looking at it now, it was quite really the only option for him, considering he could only appear at night. It feels less exciting and more disheartening, once you realise the effect it has on everyone.

This is a formal apology to Sam Glass. I have a terrible memory, but I still cannot believe I completely forgot about him. There was always a nagging feeling in the back of my mind as I was reading that I knew I had forgotten something, just didn’t realise it was that fact that Michael’s grandfather is a vampire. 💀 When he introduces himself to Claire, I was so mad at myself for forgetting. If I were ranking the series, Dead Girls’ Dance would probably land in the bottom five, not because it’s terrible but more so that I know I enjoyed the series a lot more later on.

Also, the copy I had of this book growing up was the glow in the dark version and young me was lowkey sad they discontinued those covers. 😭

Midnight Alley

Midnight Alley is where the series really kicks off. The first two books were good at introducing the playing field of Morganville, but Midnight Alley brings us to the real issue behind the town.

The introduction of Myrnin as the trap door spider was SO good. Also, I forgot how young vampires are supposed to look in this series. He’s introduced as looking like he’s in his mid-twenties. The web series of Morganville had cast older actors to play a lot of the vampires so yet again my terrible memory fails me once more. (as always)

Myrnin reveals Morganville’s darkest secret: all the vampires are slowly dying, and Amelie has no idea how to stop it happening. So she assigns Claire as an assistant to Myrnin, but she struggles to handle Myrnin during his moments of sickness, where he completely forgets who he is and turns on her. Here is where we learn how the Morganville network works. Everything is based on Alchemy, but if Myrnin doesn’t figure out their sickness, then everything that Morganville stands for will soon fall.

The only critique I could have about this book is the whole Captain Obvious arc and how he’s never mentioned before this book. It’s nothing serious or anything terrible. But considering that Michael is revealed to be a member of their anti-vampire new spread, I would have thought it would be mentioned much earlier in the series. I feel like it would have worked so well in Glass Houses. But there are no hard feelings there. It’s still quite satisfying seeing the group collapse so quickly.

If the ending of Glass Houses had me spinning, then I died at the end of Midnight Alley. I knew Mr Bishop as one of the series’ antagonist, but I miscalculated when he actually appears. The way he tricks Claire’s parents and the book ends with him demanding to see his daughter, Amelie, or he will kill all the humans in the house. If I learnt anything from this re-read of Morganville Vampires, is that Rachel Caine knew how to make cliffhangers, and that was one thing that never changes. 

Well, that’s a wrap on part one of this Retrospective series for Morganville Vampires. It’s not my most eloquent of posts. I was initially planning to make this a reading vlog, but I’m not confident enough to speak in front of cameras yet. I was mainly writing this for the nostalgia kick, as it has been over 11 years since I first read this series. I’m not surprised by how much I have forgotten, something that will be common in future posts, which is why I wanted to do this retrospective series so much. The list of books I want to read is never-ending, so I often don’t get a chance to re-read books that I did love. So I am very excited to re-read this series again.

Books That Defined My Decade

Books That Defined My Decade

This post was entirely inspired by Kate @ Your Tita Kate’s post, The Books That Defined My decade. I never thought to even reflect on my decade, but after reading Kate’s post, I immediately wanted to do the same.

I have a terrible memory, so I don’t remember much from my childhood, which makes me feel like I didn’t genuinely exist until 2010. At the start of this decade, I was eleven years old, turning twelve that March and, at the time of writing this post, I am twenty-one, about to turn twenty-two this March. I went from primary school, secondary school, college and university all in this decade alone. And just thinking about that blows my mind. In some sense, it shouldn’t because it’s just time passing but, at the same time, that is a lot of significant milestones in my life. I went from a child to a young adult, and reading Kate’s post made me realise that’s not a small thing. Reading is a big part of my identity, especially during this decade is where I had more choice over the books I read. While Kate’s post is more about books published in each specific year, my list is naming the books that I read in that year that made the most significant impact on me. So not all of them were great reads, but I feel like they deserve some acknowledge from impacting me in some way.

I’m going off what years I’ve put in my Goodreads profile but I feel like I might be off by a year or so hence I’ve added some books here that I actually read in 2009.

  • Thief – Despite Malorie Blackman being of the UK’s most beloved children’s author, I never read her acclaimed series Noughts & Crosses. Instead of the books, I knew her by were Thief and Hacker. I think this part is due to the face we didn’t have her books in my primary school library. (Maybe we did, and it was always being borrowed?) But anyway, I found Thief by accident when someone had randomly left it lying around after Golden Time. (lol remember Golden Time?) Anyway, someone remind me actually to read Noughts & Crosses in this decade.
  • Theodore Boone – The early 2010s was before I joined proper social media, so my ability to find books were severely limited. I don’t even remember how I managed to find Theodore Boone because it wasn’t from my school library, nor did anyone buy it for me. But I loved this series a lot as a kid. I used to watch a lot of crime shows with my family, so reading a series set in a similar environment to all the shows I was watching, but with a protagonist my age blew my mind.
  • The Lighting Thief – Funnily enough, this was the last time I actually up a Rick Riordan book before picking up the second one in 2019. I really loved The Lightning Thief, but my school library didn’t have the rest of the series so sadly, and with my fish brain that forgets everything every five seconds, I never got around to finishing this series. I tried continuing the series, but life got in the way. I really hope to get back to this series soon. 
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Auto-buy Authors

Auto-buy Authors

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature once hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, but has now moved to That Artsy Reader Girl! Each week, a new topic is put into place and bloggers share their top ten (or your own amount) accordingly.

I’m not a big on having an “auto-buy author”, since a lot of the time, I end up not liking other books by the same author. Which is why this list is only eight because I had to think for a long and hard time on which authors would I consider immediately buying a new or perhaps one that I missed book.

  • Rachel Caine
    I basically grew up with the Morganville Vampires and The Great Library series is one of my all-time favourite YA series. Of course, Rachel will forever be an auto-buy. I prefer her YA stuff but I have purchased her adult fiction, I just haven’t got round to reading them yet.
  • S.K. Ali
    Saints & Misfits and Love From A to Z are some of my favourite Muslim YA novels.
  • Madeline Miller
    When you’ve written something as iconic as The Song of Achilles, you deserve to be everyone’s auto-buy author. 😂
  • Tahereh Mafi
    I’m not a huge fan of the Shatter Me series but everything she’s written outside of it has me hooked!
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Childhood Favourites

Childhood Favourites

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature once hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, but has now moved to That Artsy Reader Girl! Each week, a new topic is put into place and bloggers share their top ten (or your own amount) accordingly.

The books I read as a kid primarily came from whatever my sister read and whatever little books my primary school had. Our city library had been remodelled and had a reopening when I was younger. I vaguely remember going to the opening and getting a new library card. But my dad was rarely able to take us to and from the library because he was so busy with work.

Nowadays, I just read eBooks from my library because my physical card ran out, and I’m too awkward to go back to the library to renew it. I’m not sure when I considered childhood to end, and considering, I’m only twenty-one at the time of writing, it seems too early to have this list include books I read up to until turning eighteen.

For me, there’s a blur between childhood/teenage years. So, this list will mainly consist of books that I read before the age of thirteen because it seemed like the easiest way to categorise this list. But it also makes it the shortest and hardest list to make because I have no idea what I read as a kid. I have a pretty terrible memory, so unless something is documented, I will struggle to remember it. And I didn’t start using Goodreads until I was like fourteen. Anyway, I’m rambling, but here are some books I’ve read in my childhood.

Jacqueline Wilson

Jacqueline Wilson, for me, was the quintessential British children’s author. I didn’t read Harry Potter until I was like thirteen since I used to see it as a book for Older Kids because my older sister really liked them. And because of the international success of HP, I often forget that it is a children’s series. I’m not too familiar with Wilson’s international success, but here, in the UK, her books dominated the children’s section. Even if I could never find a book I wanted, there was always a Jacqueline Wilson. Weirdly, I’ve actually only read one Tracy Beaker book, but I did watch the show a lot. My favourite was always My Sister Jodie, The Illustrated Mum or Candyfloss. My Sister Jodie was actually the last one I remember reading, which was like eleven years ago. I don’t think I’ve read anything past that.

The Morganville Vampires

I’m sort of toeing the age line at this point because I think I was around eleven when I read this series. But these books are THAT series for me that got me into becoming an avid reader and pushed me into reading beyond what was in front of me. My sister used to buy the books each year they came out, and I just read them because I didn’t have any other option because we never really had space nor money to spend on books. But I’ve already mentioned how much this series has changed me. I later discovered The Great Library series, also by Rachel Caine, which is now and forever will be one of my all-time favourite book series. I also had the pleasure of working with Rachel for the last three books as a beta reader. And I honestly cannot tell you how thrilling it was to work on those books and to have the opportunity to make it the greatest it can possibly be. My notes were pretty shitty the first time, but it gave me a lot of experience.  

Continue reading “Childhood Favourites”