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The Price Guide to the Occult by Leslye Walton | Review

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**Thank you so much to the publisher for providing me with an ARC of this book. This did not change my opinion or review in any way.**

3.5 stars.

Oh, where to begin. I should probably tell you guys about the fact that I had been anticipating this book ever since I read Leslye’s first book, Ava Lavender, three years ago. I loved it so much: the writing, the story, the characters, the magical realism. Of course I would be excited for Leslye’s new book! (Ava Lavender was, and still is, one of my favorite books to this day).

Sadly, despite this being a good book, to me, it did not live up nearly to the wonderfulness that is The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender. Don’t get me wrong–it certainly wasn’t bad. It was a good book (hence the 3.5 stars). But my expectations were too high, and they weren’t met; which means I am now currently pretty disappointed. This will be spoiler-free.

Unlike Ava Lavender, I’d say this book is basically urban fantasy. Magical realism has something different about it–it’s more subtle, less public, and it’s accepted and not questioned but people do recognize the fact that there is something different. This book, as I was saying, I felt like tried to have magical realism, but it didn’t work. The fantastical scenes were too intense, and the atmosphere of the book wasn’t working well with me.

Perhaps the most disappointing part of this novel for me was the fact that the beautiful writing in Ava Lavender did not seem to show up. Leslye’s writing is still good, but it didn’t blow me away. I didn’t feel the atmosphere of the novel; I didn’t feel enchanted or captured by the words (which is what I had been expecting).

Regardless, I still enjoyed reading The Price Guide to the Occult. It was still intriguing, and I wanted to get to the end. It just didn’t hook me as I had expected it to, and I didn’t end up loving the characters or feeling much attachment to them. Personally, I thought Leslye’s writing shone the most when she wrote about the past (i.e.; Rona and her descendants) rather than Nor, maybe because it reminded me of Ava Lavender. It ended with a hook, though, so I am curious to see what will happen if there is a future novel because I think it will definitely be more interesting. Also: regarding the romance–I didn’t get the point. There was a half (?) love-triangle, but I thought Reed’s character was 100% useless. The book would have been much more interesting if the main love interest had been Gage, since Nor and Gage display much more tension than do Reed and Nor. Anyway, I really hope we get a second book because I think these issues may be resolved then, and maybe I’ll be satisfied once again :’).

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Nova Teen Book Festival 2018

Hi everyone! Wow, it’s been a long time since I’ve written anything. Truth be told, I’ve been so swamped with school that I didn’t even think of blogging until I had a snow day today. But regardless, I want to share with you guys my experience of the Nova Teen Book Festival which happened a few weeks ago.

For all of you who don’t know, NTBF is an annual book festival with a bunch of awesome YA authors, books, and panels, and a grand signing with all of the authors at the end. This was my fourth year going to the NTBF and I love it so much. (It’s in the Northern Virginia area). The link is here for any of you who might want to check out their website. Here are my posts about NTBF from the past years: 2017 (apparently I never wrote one!) / 2016 / 2015.

As I said, this was my fourth year actually going, but my third year volunteering. I do have to say, it was definitely more hectic and stressful this year than in the last, but that had to do more with the fact that I was volunteering than the actual festival itself. Also, this is a relatively new festival (this was it’s fifth year), and it keeps growing, so there were a lot more people there.

Regardless, I loved the festival, yet again. It is SO nice to be in a space where everyone loves reading and discussing books. This year, I actually met fewer authors than before (mainly because I didn’t have the money to buy other books).

I first met with the author of It Started With Goodbye, Christina June, whose book you should totally check out. I haven’t read it yet, but it seems SO good and the cover is SO PRETTY. (Also, the author is super super nice–I actually know her personally, not just within the book sphere).

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Next, I met Tomi Adeyemi, the author of Children of Blood and Bone. Guys, I am so unbelievably excited to read this book. It got so much hype, the cover is amazing, and Tomi was so sweet. When she saw that I was a hijabi, she gave me a traditional African scarf that she wasn’t giving other people (which I unfortunately realized only after, which meant I couldn’t thank her enough).

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Me and Tomi at the signing area.

Also, although I didn’t personally meet him, I had listened to Arvin Ahmadi’s discussion the day before (since he visited my high school that he is actually an alum at as well!), and I took a couple of pictures of him and my sister talking about his book, Down and Across.

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My sister and Arvin Ahmadi.

Finally, I met Susan Dennard (who is one of my FAVORITE authors) AGAIN, and she remembered me! This time, it was towards the end of the signing, and SHE asked me to take a picture with her because she felt bad that I had waited so long. Also, she even remembered my name and its meaning and told me that she would hold her promise of naming one of her characters Silanur. 🙂 I honestly loved meeting her again.

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Me and Susan!

Once again, I came out of the signing super happy, and I really hope that I don’t break my streak of going to the NTBF continuously.

Thank you so much for reading this post! Do you all enjoy reading about my book signing experiences? Please let me know!

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Airplanes in the Night Sky Regular

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Why I’m Not Continuing the And I Darken Series: A Discussion

Hi everyone!

This post is one that I’ve been thinking about for a while, and I actually wrote about it a little bit on my Goodreads page. Basically, before I jump into it, I want to give a disclaimer: I loved And I Darken. I even met Kiersten White and told her how much I loved it. I still love And I Darken and I truly understand why other people love this series. Had things went differently for the series, I probably would have read the other two books and loved them as well.

Now let me tell you why I’m making this post and why I believe it’s necessary that other people read this too.

If you didn’t know, And I Darken is set in the Ottoman Empire, and involves Mehmed the Conqueror’s conquest of Constantinople (Istanbul). The story itself is a twist on actual history–the main character is the female version of Vlad the Impaler, a historical figure–but in its essence, the books are still historical fiction (with obvious differences, of course).

A fact I should let you know at this point–I’m Turkish. The Ottoman Empire was a Turkish empire. The Ottoman nobles, sultans, culture, food, language, were Turkish. As I was saying, I’m Turkish, and I’m a pretty proud one. And specifically, I love the Ottoman Empire: it’s history, it’s leaders, it’s accomplishments. As with any powerful empire, the Ottoman Empire had it’s flaws and wrongdoings. However, I absolutely despise it when Turks and the Ottoman Empire are depicted as cruel, ruthless people who took away the very Christian, and very European, Constantinople.

In most descriptions written by people who are white, European, or Christian, the seizure of Constantinople is viewed as a terrible day. Turks are described as disgusting people who had no mercy for those living in the city. On Wikipedia, it states that Ottomans barged into the city, raped the women, and destroyed all of the churches.

I am here to tell you that this depiction is wrong. Of course, it wasn’t all glorious and beautiful. It was still war, after all. But to the contrary of most opinions, the Ottomans did not go into Istanbul and ruin everything. They kept all of the churches and religious places of worship intact. The damage they did on the city’s walls were caused by the fact that they needed a way into the city to capture it.

Now, you’re probably thinking: what does this have to do with And I Darken?

And I Darken involves Mehmed the Conqueror, who is probably one of the most–if not the most–celebrated figure in Ottoman (Turkish) history, as he was the one who conquered Istanbul. While I was reading Book 1, I didn’t really mind how Mehmed was depicted. I heard other people talking about how they hated him, but I assumed it was just as how people hate certain book characters and slid it off. However, as I read through reviews of Now I Rise, I realized that nearly everyone was talking about how much they hated him. Or how terribly sad the scenes of the conquering of Constantinople were. And I know I haven’t read the book–but these are things that I can not ignore. I can not ignore people who know near to nothing about my people, my culture, talk about the horridness of such a huge aspect of my history. I can not ignore people bashing someone who was not a devil, someone who was educated and such an important figure in the history of not only Turkey, but of the world.

I cannot ignore the bastardization, in a way, of my culture.

You can not say this is only fiction. Fiction is not something to be nudged off or considered lightly. Fiction changes. Fiction impacts. Fiction touches. Fiction can change the way you think, for better or for worse, and I am very sad to say that I don’t think these beloved books are doing the job they should. For many people, reading this series may be the first time they are exposed to the Ottoman Empire and Turks/Mehmed the Conqueror, and these books will impact the way they think about them. No matter how fictitious, they will assume some biases that are inevitable when reading historical fiction. And I cannot support this anymore.

Thank you for reading this. This post, out of all the ones I have made so far, matters to me perhaps the most. I would greatly appreciate it if you spread this information and discuss it with me, as it would truly make a difference.

*One point: I really do appreciate Kiersten White’s efforts in portraying Islam, despite all of the things I said about Turkey/Turkish culture–I think she did it very well, and I do respect that. But this is about a different topic that I think should be addressed.*

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Airplanes in the Night Sky Regular

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Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones | Book Review

Hi everyone!

About a month ago, I started reading Wintersong, intrigued by it because I knew that it was about goblins and kidnapping, and now I’m happy to say I read it. Although, I didn’t quite love it–I’m giving it around 3.5-3.75 stars–it was definitely enjoyable, so I hope you stick around to continue reading this review.

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One thing I would like to point out is that you should definitely go into this book without knowing much. If you’re aware that it is about goblins, and that it has really beautiful writing, I think you’re set. What I realized while reading was that the synopsis given on the inside of the book as well as the one on Goodreads actually spoils part of the book. That is, I kept expecting the story to move forward more quickly, because what was happening was already given in the synopsis itself. It turned out, however, that the synopsis basically tells you what happens for at least a third of the book. So: if you want to be slightly more surprised, I recommend not reading a summary.

(This review will be spoiler-free).

Things I Liked:

As I mentioned already, I loved the writing. It was probably my favorite part of the book. It’s flowy and nice-sounding and really sets the atmosphere of the book. The world is super interesting as well. You want to continue reading purely because of the fact that everything is so mysterious and dark. Literally: when I think of this book, I imagine the color scheme of the (beautiful) book cover–dark blue laced with shining silver.

Another aspect I really enjoyed was the character development. By the end of the novel, Elisabeth is basically entirely transformed. When we first meet her, she has no self-esteem, doesn’t know what she’s doing, is bitter and unsatisfied with her life. Throughout the novel, she finally finds herself and her music. I also really liked the fact that her music was such a central aspect of her story, as books often erase hobbies and passions for plotlines.

Things That Could Have Been Better

My biggest complaint for this book is that nothing happened. I could have skipped a good 100 pages, and I would have understood what was going on because that’s how slow it was. I was expecting Elisabeth to do something besides stay weepy and mourn and lust, but she didn’t, most of the time. And this is coming from a person who can usually read slow books–I just couldn’t deal with it. It felt really repetitive at times, so much so that the romance got boring and even the beautiful writing didn’t faze me. It felt like I was reading the same lines over and over again.

I also wish that the author had expanded the world of the novel. There was so much more to know! It could have been so much more adventurous and interesting if something had actually happened. Don’t get me wrong: I usually enjoy character-driven books–I LOVE characters, even if the plot isn’t amazing–but for a book that was supposed to be a fantasy, I was expecting a little more action. So many things went unexplained; and I assume that they will be elaborated on in Book 2, but still.

Overall, however, I did end up liking this book because it had a really different taste to it. I’m not really sure if I’ll get to the second book, just because I don’t know if I can deal with another super slow book in a long time now.

Have you read Wintersong? Did you enjoy it, or were you one of those that thought it was mediocre?

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Airplanes in the Night Sky Regular

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3 Year Blogiversary!

Hey everyone!

Today, February 2017, marks the completed third year of this blog, AloofBooks. I’ve spent three years on here, talking, writing, reading, sharing. Three years of learning about new books, of ranting about things I hate, of letting the world know how I feel. This is (probably) the longest period of time I have continued something purely because I want to, and I am so glad that I did.

When I first started this blog, I was an 8th grader who wanted to show her mom that I could do something good about all the books I read for fun. In 9th grade, it became my platform for telling people about my struggles, and how little I could read. This continued onto 10th grade–and now, I’m in the second half of my junior year, and I can say that I have changed so much since the first time I started this little blog. I have nearly 500 (!!!) followers on here–which I think is a pretty big number for a blog–and although I can’t be quite as nearly as active as I was in the past, it’s still wonderful.

Thank you to all of those who have stuck with me for three years, to all of those who still read my posts and talk to me about anything and everything, and most of all, thank you to books: for letting me be passionate about something.

Love,

Airplanes in the Night Sky Regular

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YA Books of 2018

Hey guys! Every year, I usually make a post of the new year’s book releases that I might want to read. Usually, I do it way before we enter into the new year, but this time, I’m a little late. (Obviously, since it’s already February).

Here are the links to the previous posts in this series:  2016 // 2017

As always, bolded means priority/I’m extra excited and italics means the book is a debut. I hope you find this list useful, since it took a while for me to choose which books to include.

 

  • The Cruel Prince by Holly Black — January 2nd
  • Batman: Nightwalker by Marie Lu — January 2nd
  • Love, Hate & Other Filters by Samira Ahmed — January 16th
  • The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert — January 30th
  • Shadowsong (Wintersong #2) by S. Jae-Jones — February 6th
  • Sightwitch (Witchlands #0.5) by Susan Dennard — February 13th
  • Ink, Iron, and Glass by Gwendolyn Clare — February 20th
  • A Girl Like That by Tanaz Bhathena — February 27th
  • Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi — March 6th
  • Restore Me by Tahereh Mafi (Shatter Me #4) — March 6th
  • Obsidio by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff — March 13th
  • The Price Guide to the Occult by Leslye Walton — March 13th
  • The Fates Divide (Carve The Mark #2) by Veronica Roth — April 10th
  • The Burning Maze (Trials of Apollo #3) by Rick Riordan — May 1st
  • A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas — May 1st
  • On The Come Up by Angie Thomas — May 1st
  • My So-Called Bollywood Life by Nisha Sharma — May 15th
  • From Twinkle, With Love by Sandhya Menon — May 22nd
  • Legendary (Caraval #2) by Stephanie Garber — May 29th
  • Save the Date by Morgan Matson — June 5th
  • Smoke In The Sun by Renee Ahdieh — June 5th
  • A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir (Ember Quartet #3) — June 12th
  • Not The Girls You’re Looking For by Aminah Mae Safi — June 19th
  • My Plain Jane (The Lady Janies #2) by Multiple Authors — June 26th
  • Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik — July 10th
  • Heart of Thorns by Bree Barton — July 31st
  • Catwoman: Soulstealer by Sarah J. Maas — August 7th
  • These Rebel Waves (Stream Raiders #1) by Sara Raasch — August 7th
  • Dance of Thieves by Mary E. Pearson — August 7th
  • Fierce Like a Firestorm (Hibiscus Daughter #2) by Lana Popovic — August 21st
  • Mirage by Somaiya Daud — August 28th
  • Untitled by Kiera Cass — September 20th
  • The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White– September 25th
  • Untitled (Renegades #2) by Marissa Meyer — November 6th
  • Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare — December 4th
  • Untitled (Warcross #2) by Marie Lu — ???
  • Untitled (Throne of Glass #7) by Sarah J. Maas — ??? 
  • Untitled by Marie Rutkoski — ???
  • The Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor — ???

What are your most anticipated reads of 2018? I’d love to know!

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Airplanes in the Night Sky Regular

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An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson: A Pleasant Surprise

Hey guys!

About two weeks ago, when we had just entered 2018, I picked up An Enchantment of Ravens on a whim. I kind of just felt like trying it out; since I knew it had faeries in it…until I got hooked. I hadn’t felt like reading something avidly in such a long time, and it just felt so good. Even when I wasn’t reading it, I was thinking of it and the characters.

So–I decided I might as well tell you guys a little bit about it in this review-raving post. (This is spoiler-free, so don’t worry about it).

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Isn’t the cover SO beautiful?

I personally think you don’t really need to know much about this book before going into it. It’s barely 300 pages; so if you learn too much about it, then it might spoil the book for you. The only things you should know are: it’s about faeries, and it has beautiful writing.

Now, just a heads up: this is one of those books that’s definitely a hit-or-miss. For me, it was a hit. I get why people wouldn’t like it as much–but for me, I could overlook the flaws because my enjoyment outweighed the things that would usually bug me. In fact, it was kind of out of the ordinary for me to enjoy a book like this.

Normally, I despise instalove. I’ve written so much about how much I hate it; and I still do. An Enchantment of Ravens had instalove. I still love it. For such a short book, I became so invested in the characters that I didn’t care about the fact that the romance took place in such a short bit of time. That said, let me tell you why I loved this book.

  • The writing was so pretty. Reading it, I thought I was a faerie myself, floating through this mystical world. It was poetical without the long, wordy descriptions some books have.
  • loved the characters. Yea, yea. Isobel could be stupid sometimes; she fell in love super easily, etc. etc. I didn’t care. She was also passionate and stubborn about what she wanted; she didn’t give up easily and that’s what made the story nice. Rook? I LOVE HIM SO MUCH. As a reader you expect him to be all stiff and annoying and like a trickster, but he’s actually such an innocent smol bean. He’s cluelessly adorable, but at the same time–he’s not stupid.
  • The WORLD. Anyone who knows my taste in books knows I am an absolute sucker for anything faerie related. Do books include intriguing worlds with faeries/fey who can’t lie and have all the nature-y stuff related to them? Cool. I’m in. And this was just that. Rogerson took my image of nature-bound faeries who couldn’t lie right out of my head and put it in her book.
  • And just about everything else.

Again, I feel like I need to clear this up: this book had a lot of flaws. Besides the instalove, there were a lot of plot holes that I feel like could have been addressed had the book been longer. But in actuality? I didn’t really care. I liked the fact that not everything had been cleared up, because it let the intrigue of the book stay.

My only complaint is that I wish this book was longer, since Rogerson definitely could have extended it to answer some questions. At times it felt like it was slightly rushed, as if the author needed to fit in the plot in an X amount of words. I just wish that there was another book to look forward to, especially since certain conflicts could be extended more. (Though I’m not complaining about the ending we got!)

Regardless, if you couldn’t tell, I loved this book, and I can’t wait for any other books Margaret Rogerson has to offer us. ❤

Have you read this book? How did you like it? I’d love to chat!

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Airplanes in the Night Sky Regular

my social medias: // goodreads // studygram // tumblr // questions? contact me: aloofbooks@gmail.com