[Rewind] August 2017

Hello friends! I hope life has been treating you well this past month! August has been an eventful month for me, and for once it’s not all about my studies (madness, I know). What have I been up to? We’ll get to that, but first – books!

New to My Shelves

I’ve been keeping a close eye on my budget this month, so instead of buying new books, I’ve been visiting the library more! I borrowed an audiobook of Murphy’s Law on a whim (I seem to be constantly in a lady detective, historical fiction mood these days). It’s not mind-blowing, but I’m really enjoying it.

I also borrowed the English audiobook of The Rainbow Troops, translated from Indonesian, just because it was there. It was huge in Indonesia a couple of years ago, but I’m contrary so I never read it or watched the movie. I think I need to read it in the original language, because my mind keeps trying to figure out how the sentences would sound in Indonesian.

Another library find this month was Girl Waits with Gun, which I’ve just finished. (I did mention my historical fiction, lady detective kick, yeah?) I adored it and am thinking of picking up the sequel already!


Mirror in the Sky / ★★

Other Things on the Blog

↠ I signed up for #TheReadingQuest this month! I'm not doing too badly too, thanks to long hours of travelling I've done in the last week. Check out my tweets for updates on my quest if you'd like! I'm surprising myself by already finishing four out of my goal of the five books, though it can be put down to the fact that I spent 12-hours travelling on one day and had a 3-hour train ride on another day. It's been a while since I've been able to binge read, so this has been really fun!

↠ I discussed whether peeking at the ending is a bad reading habit. What do you think?

Challenges Progress

↠ Goodreads challenge: 28/30 books
↠ Discussion challenge: 6/24 discussion posts
↠ ReadDiverse2017 challenge: 9 books
↠ #RockMyTBR challenge: 1 book
↠ Backlist Books challenge: 8 books

Around the Blogosphere

↠ Becky discusses her priorities when it comes to blogging.
↠ Musings Over Nothing discusses the social aspect of reading.

In Life

↠ My best friend got married! I was maid of honour, which was also my first time being a part of a bridal party. It was hectic, but it was also so lovely. I told her I would try to not cry, but my eyes definitely started welling up when she walked down the aisle!

↠ One week after that wedding, I flew home to Indonesia for a holiday as well as to attend the wedding of one of my close friends from high school. The difference between the two weddings is actually shocking. For instance, while the first wedding required the bride and bridesmaid to start getting ready by 7.30am, this one involved waking up at 2.30am for make-up and hair! (I was rather glad I wasn't part of the bridal party for this one; I was exhausted just thinking about it.)  It was also a beautiful wedding, and I was glad to be able to spend time with friends that I haven't seen in a while.

↠ As I write this, I'm still on holiday. Apart from catching up with my old friends, I'm stuffing myself full with my mum's cooking and my favourite food from my hometown. (Do you know how many varieties of Indonesian food are not available in Melbourne? Too many.) I haven't seriously thought about my thesis or my placement in a week. It's sooo nice. There is a part of me that's anxious about whether I'd be behind when I get back, but I think I needed this break.

In Store for Next Month

I'm so behind on my reviews now that I'm actually doing well with #TheReading Quests! Look out for what I expect will be a gushy review of Sorcerer to the Crown. I'm also trying to decide on what to write to commemorate my second blogoversary, even if it's going to be about five months late by the time I finish with it! Any suggestions?

How was your August?
Tell me about something that made you happy in the last month!
What are you looking forward to in September?

[Review] Mirror in the Sky by Aditi Khorana

I came into Mirror in the Sky imagining it to be a sci-fi novel about an alternate universe where the lives of Earth's teenagers and their Sliding Doors, alien doppelganger somehow intersect. That's not what happened. This is more of a contemporary novel about the power of 'what if's rather than a sci-fi, and I wish I'd known that before I started. While the premise is intriguing and I enjoyed the depiction of high-school friendships, I kept waiting for something else to happen.

Is Peeking at the Ending a Bad Reading Habit?

There was a time when reading ahead, let alone peeking at the end of a book, was an absolute no-no for me. When Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows came out, my friend told me that she'd picked up a copy at the bookshop and flipped right to the last page then and there. I was aghast. Aside from immediately forbidding her from telling me about it, I thought reading ending first would completely ruin the reading experience.

And yet, recently I've found myself flipping ahead, or even glancing at the last page. I'm not sure why! It's happened both with books that I like and books that don't hold my attention, so it's not necessarily me looking for a reason to keep reading (though it is possible in some occasions). There's a lot of discussion about how smartphones and multi-tasking is rewiring our brains and making us less patient, which is something I've noticed with myself when I'm studying. I find it more difficult to focus on one task for an extended period of time, something I used to be quite good at. It's possible that this is affecting my reading too.

The journey is supposed to be the exciting part of reading, right? If you already know how the story ends, then there's no mystery, anticipation, or surprises. Or is there?

In many ways, we know how most stories will end. The couple will get their happy ending. There's a 95% chance the revolution will succeed, or the orphan is going to save the world. Knowing this doesn't put me off reading romance or fantasy, because I don't know what will happen in the middle. I'd be more annoyed if someone told me of a major plot twist that happens in the middle of a book. Of course, there will be books where knowing the ending would completely and utterly ruin the fun (like if someone had told me who had died at the end of the fifth and sixth Harry Potter). On the whole though, is it really bad to peek at the ending before you finish reading?

What do you think?
Have you ever read the ending of a book first?
How do you feel about spoilers? 

#TheReadingQuest Readathon Sign-Up

I usually avoid readathons because I'm not very good at them, but this one looks so fun, I couldn't resist. Plus, I'm going to have two weeks of holiday in the middle of August, so that might help! Anyway, here is my sign-up!

If you haven't heard about this readathon, Aentee at ReadAtMidnight made #TheReadingQuest based on a video-game quest. In this challenge, you’ll be embarking on a journey to conquer your TBR pile through a series of stages. You’ll read new stories, gain experience, and level up a character of your choosing! The quest will take place between Sunday 13th August to Sunday 10th September, 2017.

For more information, read the master post here on Aentee's blog. A big shout-out to CW at Read, Think, and Ponder for creating the gorgeous arts for this readathon!

You can choose one out of four characters, each with their own quests, and I picked to be a Knight! Knights fight their way through the First Across path, with stages inspired by action and weaponry.

#TheReadingQuest TBR

↠ The First Book of a Series: The Diviners
This book has been on my shelf for ages, and it's time to tackle it. I quite enjoy Libba Bray's other works, so I'm looking forward to reading this. (If only it wasn't so big!)

↠ A Book with a Verb in the Title: Carry On 
I really enjoyed Rainbow Rowell's talk at last year's Melbourne Writers Festival about the magic system in this book, but I'm not sure how I feel about it being basically a.. parody? play? ... of Harry Potter. Anyway, I'm intrigued.

↠ A Book with a Weapon on the Cover: Girl Waits with Gun
I actually will need to borrow this one from the library, but this is one of those books whose covers make me want to read it. Plus, how great is that title?

↠ A Book with a Red Cover: An Abundance of Katherine
I actually have never loved John Green's writing. I never even bothered to watch The Fault in Our Stars. I like his books well enough, but they're just alright for me. My sister, on the other hand, had a phase where she practically devoured all of his books. This one fits the box for this readathon, so I'm going to give it a shot!

↠ A Book that Has a TV/Movie Adaptation: The Magicians
Yet another book that I bought because I enjoyed the author's appearance at MWF last year. I loaned it to a friend and her review of it isn't too favourable, sooo I guess we'll see?

I've managed to pick four out of the above books from my shelf, so if this goes well, I'll be really crossing them off a really long-standing TBR. Wish me luck!

Are you going to do the readathon too? What's on your TBR?

[Rewind] July 2017

There's really not much to rewind this time! July has been a rather dismal month in terms of blogging. I fell into a reading slump too, though funnily enough finished two 5-stars books immediately after. I do have some things to talk about though, so I hope you'll read on!

New to My Shelves

I went to Oz Comic-Con last month and spotted Wires and Nerve while walking around the artists market. As it turned out, it was Douglas Holgate's (the illustrator) stall! My friend and I had a nice chat with him about how Wires and Nerve came to be, and he signed our copies for us. I adored Iko, so I'm really looking forward to reading this!

I've also been approved for Starswept by Mary Fan on NetGalley. The synopsis caught my eye, and I'm totally here for a diverse sci-fi story!


Laurinda by Alice Pung / ★★★★★ (I posted this one in June, but I never did a June rewind post, so I'm sneaking it in here!)

Other Things on the Blog

I only did one other post this month, and that was this list of the books on my current TBR. I've already finished three out of the four books on the list, so I'm going to have to line up new ones soon!

Challenges Progress

↠ Goodreads challenge: 23/30 books
↠ Discussion challenge: 5/24 discussion posts
↠ ReadDiverse2017 challenge: 8 books
↠ #RockMyTBR challenge:  1 book
↠ Backlist Books challenge: 7 books

Around the Blogosphere

↠ Clara discusses ways to pick your next read.
↠ Laura talks about how to know your idea is a keeper.
↠ Shannon discusses things she likes about your blog.

In Life

↠ I started my next (and hopefully last) placement for my course! It has me working with older adults, and I'm absolutely amazed by how much they have seen and done in their lives. It hasn't all been sweet and easy though. I'm not always sure how to communicate with them, particularly with those who have dementia. Sometimes it's sad, because ageing isn't easy, and the current generation of older adults have lived through at least one war. My other placements have had me working with children and teenagers, so there's a lot of things I don't know yet. I'm absolutely fascinated though.
↠ I went to Oz Comic-Con! I wanted to go see Alyson Hannigan, and I'm so glad I did. She came across as sincere and lovely, and she was really funny in person too! Though now that I've seen both her and David Boreanaz live, I probably should watch Buffy...
↠ For the first time since 2015, I'll be going home to Indonesia! It's only a short trip, and a part of me is stressing about leaving in the middle of semester, but I'm going for a wedding so the timing can't be helped. I'm looking forward to the trip and seeing my friends and family, though not so much to the international flights!

In Store for Next Month

Those 5-stars books I mentioned earlier? There shall be reviews coming up for them! I also have two discussion posts in mind. Fingers crossed I get to them all! 

How was your July?
Did you read any good books? Link me to your latest/favourite post of the month!
Do you have any plans for August?

[ARC Review] A Purely Private Matter by Darcie Wilde

Texture by patzbone at Deviant-Art

With A Useful Woman, Rosalind Thorne became one of my favourite lady detectives in literature. So when A Purely Private Matter came out, my expectations for it were off the chart. Thankfully, it rose to the challenge. The mystery was delightful in its twists and turns, but it was the characters that, once again, won me over.

The best thing about the cast of A Purely Private Matter is how alive they all are. Pretty much all of the characters seem to have a history and motivation, even if they only show up for a handful of pages and we never know what their full story is. This is also true for the ones we're meant to care about. We learn a little more about Rosalind's history in this book, particularly the sister who disappeared in the series of events that had Rosalind going from a lady of sufficient means and respectable family to where she is now - carefully budgeting and living on the fringes of the haute ton. I liked knowing more about a character's family, and in this case, I felt that meeting her sister sheds some more light on Rosalind's character.

The mystery admittedly at times felt like a soap opera. (Murder, secret pasts, and love affairs, oh my!) Given that the murder victim is an actor, however, it all felt fitting. The title is also perfect considering the nature of the mystery. Many aspects of the mystery should be a purely private matter, but they can't remain so in light of the murder. Plus, I enjoyed how it read like celebrity scandals (where private matters are often forced to become public), but in a historical setting.

I enjoyed that Adam Harkness had a more active role both in the story and the investigation. Rosalind is clever and resourceful, but unfortunately there are places that a lady can't go in that time period. I liked their interactions together, and would love to see them collaborate some more. In fact, I almost think they'd be a more interesting pair if there wasn't any hint of possible romance between them. Almost. Her attraction to him and her old suitor does add to that sense that Rosalind is caught in the middle - not between two suitors, but rather two worlds - but I'm still not sold on the love triangle.

Overall, this is still a series that I would recommend to fans of historical cosy mysteries. I'm looking forward to the next installment already!

(I received a copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This has not influenced my opinions of the book.)

Reading this book contributes to the following challenges:

❥ Goodreads Challenge

Title: A Purely Private Matter (Rosalind Thorne Mysteries #2) ❙ Author: Darcie Wilde ❙ Publisher: Berkley ❙ Source: Netgalley ❙ Release Date: 2 May 2017

Rosalind Thorne has slowly but assuredly gained a reputation as “a useful woman”—by helping respectable women out of some less-than-respectable predicaments. 

Her latest endeavor is a tragedy waiting to happen. Desperate Margaretta Seymore is with child—and her husband is receiving poisoned pen letters that imply that her condition is the result of an affair with the notorious actor Fletcher Cavendish. Margaretta asks Rosalind to find out who is behind the scurrilous letters. But before she can make any progress, Cavendish is found dead, stabbed through the heart. 

Suddenly, Rosalind is plunged into the middle of one of the most sensational murder trials London has ever seen, and her client’s husband is the prime suspect. With the help of the charming Bow Street runner Adam Harkness, she must drop the curtain on this fatal drama before any more lives are ruined.

[Cake Break] Making a Comeback, Maybe

I love Jamie at Perpetual Page-Turner's feature here, where she talks to her readers as if they are meeting up for coffee. I adore getting to know a little more about her this way, so I'd like to follow her lead and maybe make some connections myself! I'm adapting it slightly because I go for sweets over coffee. So, grab something sweet to eat and chat with me?