Saturday, August 29, 2015

The 'Would You Rather' Book Tag

I was tagged by my blogger friend, the lovely Lanie from Lanie's Book Thoughts. This tag was originally created by YouTuber Rachel Reads and you can check out the original video here. These questions are insanely on point and were a lot of fun to answer!

1. Would you rather read only trilogies or stand alones?

I love trilogies and series. Staying with your favorites for more than one book is great. You get to read more about the characters and worlds you love best and get to watch those characters develop and grow with each installment. However, being the story lover that I am, if I had to pick, I would read only stand alones. That way I can discover much more new stories and universes. I would probably be a lot more book hangover though. 

2. Would you rather read only male or female authors?

Hmm, these questions are not getting easier are they? I'm all for gender equality and stuff so left to me, I wouldn't even select one over the other. But if I had to pick though... I guess I would go with the female authors. I mean, we girls have to support each other right?^^

3. Would you rather shop at Barnes & Nobles or Amazon?

Well this is an easy one 'cause we don't have Barnes & Nobles here XD. Actually I buy most of my books online. I usually go for The Book Depository because of the free shipping but to answer the question, yep, I would rather shop at Amazon.

4. Would you rather all books become movies or TV shows?

Oh, this is hard. On one hand more stuff from the book could be done in a TV show but then again, you would have to wait for months, or even years, to get to see that epic conclusion you loved in the books. On the other hand, movies are shorter and your favorite characters would have less screen time than in a TV show. Okay, I'm going with the TV shows I guess! And speaking of that, who else is hyped for Shadowhunters?!

5. Would you rather read 5 pages per day or 5 books per week?

Being an avid reader, I usually read A LOT per week. Although five is definitely too much for me in a week, I would go for that. I mean, 5 pages? In a week?? I would go crazy waiting to know what happens next in the story!

6. Would you rather be a professional reviewer or author?

Okay, you want to know a little secret of mine? To become an author has been a dream of mine for years. I've even written a few books in French and stories in both English and French. It's just that in recent years, I've come to realize that maybe I enjoy reading stories more than I like writing them. I'll never stop writing. I just don't think I'll ever do it as a published author. Becoming a professional reviewer though sounds awesome and I would love to be one. 

7. Would you rather only read your top 20 favorite books over and over or always read new ones that you haven't read before?

I love to re-read my favorite books. Some I've even re-read more than 5 times. But if I had to pick, I would choose to always read new books. Like I said before, I'm just a sucker for stories and would hate not being able to discover new ones.

8. Would you rather be a librarian or book seller?

A book seller! That's actually another of my secret (now not so much!) bookish dreams. I want to end up working in the publishing industry one day. And in a perfect world, I would have my very own bookstore. I even know what I would call it. Am I looking too much into this?? 

9. Would you rather only read your favorite genre, or every genre except your favorite?

Even if it's my favorite genre, if I had to read books strictly from it, I would eventually get bored. Not being able to read my favorite genre would be hard but I'd rather be able to read books from many different genres.

10. Would you rather only read physical books or eBooks?

I buy a lot of books on my Kindle from Amazon, mostly because I like being able to read anywhere I want without having to tote my books around. That being said though, I have a preference for physical books. They smell the way only books can smell, they look great on my bookshelves and I can actually use bookmarks from my ever-growing collection with them. So even if life without eBooks would be harder for my bookish self, I would rather read only physical books. 

I Tag These Lovely Bloggers:

Charlene @ Bookish Whimsy

Looking forward to reading your posts ^^

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Cover Art by Of Stacks and Cups via Pagemodo

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Soudha's Travel Log 1: Let's Hit The Beach!

Hey guys! As announced in a previous post, today I'll tell you a bit more about my home country. Mauritius is a small island in the Indian Ocean. To tourists and visitors, this usual evokes images of white sandy beaches, blue lagoons and picturesque nature spots. As you'll be soon discovering though, the island is also home to a culture melting pot, wide expanses of sugarcane fields, rich historical sites, remnants of past colonial times and even an extinct bird. Ever heard of the dodo? Like the one in Alice in Wonderland? Yep, that bird was Mauritian. 

In each post in this new feature called Soudha's Travel Log, I'll take you on a virtual trip of that particular day's location. I'll then show you the book(s) I'm currently reading and which I brought with me on the trip. Then, at the end of the post, I'll show you the memorabilia I collected during my trip. I thought it would be nice to pick up some souvenirs each time I go for one of these trips. I'm actually pretty excited to be playing the local tourist! I hope you'll have as much fun reading these posts as I'll have making them ^^

Since this is the first post in this feature, I thought I would start with the tourists' favorites: the beaches! 

Let's Go To The Beach!

Today is Saturday the 22nd of August and we're going to the beach of Flic en Flac, in the West of the island. Get ready for lots of places with funny names because as you'll find out as I make more of these posts, Mauritius has lots of places with French and Creole names. My dad is tagging along, with me not having my license yet and all of that. We leave home at 2.00 pm and hit the road. Although it's winter here right now, we're lucky to have selected a particularly sunny day for this trip.  

After driving for about 20 min, we finally reach the coastal road. This road crosses through coastal villages and touristic shopping spots. A few minutes after entering the village of Flic en Flac, we decide to stop to snap some pictures.

I spot a postcard rack and decide to grab one for my souvenir collection.

Time to take the road again. Now we're finally approaching the beach. Since today is Saturday, there are plenty of people already here. We find a nice spot and I get to work taking some pictures while my dad goes to hunt down the nearest ice-cream van. 

It's 3.30 pm and I'm starting to feel a bit hungry. My dad and I decide to walk along the beach to see what we can find. At the beach you'll usually find stalls offering local fruit salads and juices. There are also people selling coconut water, fresh out of the coconuts. If you've never tried it, I promise it's as delicious as it sounds. 

It's now 4.00 pm and we decide to head back home. Along the way, decide to stop at the nearby fishing village. In most Mauritian coastal villages, the main activity is fishing and the fishermen usually occupy a part of the beach where the water is too deep and tricky to swim in. Since it's afternoon, we find the spot empty as most fishermen go out at sea very early in the morning. As the waves roll in the distance and a gentle sea breeze sweeps across the beach, we enjoy the tranquil sight of the fishing boats docked for the day.  

What I'm Currently Reading 

Now let me show you what I've been reading. I'm actually reading a few different books at the moment but the one I brought to the beach with me is Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee. I've recently read To Kill A Mockingbird and absolutely loved it and while I would have been fine without a sequel, I am too much of a curious person not to read Go Set A Watchman.   

Reading about an adult Scout in the first few pages was a bit weird for me but as I'm reading, the book is slowly growing on me. I'll keep my thoughts on this book for my wrap-up though.

The Souvenir(s)

I bought this lovely postcard at one of the little tourist shop we visited on our way to the beach. I love the colors and how it screams sunny days and good times. The picture on the card was taken at La Pirogue, a four star hotel found in Flic en Flac. I actually did spend a week there with my family two years ago, so I was happy to find a postcard with a picture of the hotel. At the back of the postcard, I wrote the date and the purpose of our trip. I also decided to have the people accompanying me in my trips add their names and signatures at the back of the postcards and other memorabilia I'll be picking up. One day, I'll look back on all those souvenirs and remember the fun trips we had together while we played the local tourists. As my dad jokingly said to me in the car, "Along with your readers, you're also discovering Mauritius!" 

So this was my first post in the Travel Log series. I hope you guys enjoyed it. Let me know your thoughts in the comments! And now I'll leave you with shots of this exceptional fail XD


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Cover Art by Of Stacks and Cups via Pagemodo

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Instagram, News & Some Other Chit-Chats With You Guys!

Today I have a few info to share with you guys. I also need your opinions on a few things, so make sure you read till the end ^_^ 

Alright, let's start with info #1:

 I finally got Instagram!

Well, it's actually a Bookstagram! It took me a while to get down to getting Instagram, partly because I wasn't very happy with my skills with photography. I can't say I've become much of an expert photographer since then but the encouragements I got from some friends, including blogger friends, with regards to my photos, have finally convinced me to try my hand at Instagram. So, here I am with my blog's official Bookstagram ^_^ If you like my photos, you can click the link in the sidebar to follow me. And yes, I always follow back! Here's a little glimpse of what I've been up to on Instagram recently:

And if you want to share with your Instagram with me and other people, feel free to add a link to your profile in the comments below.

Okay, now onto info #2. And I'm going to need your advice for that one.

I'm starting a new feature soon and I'd love to hear from you about it!

Those of you who've been following my blog since a few months know that I'm from Mauritius, which is a small island in the Indian Ocean. Most people don't know much about Mauritius though, which is why I thought I would start a new feature on my blog to show you around my island. These posts will be divided into two parts. In the first part, I'll give you a virtual guided tour of a place or part of the island. Then, in the second part, I'll show you the book(s) I brought with me on the trip and which I'm currently reading. So, what do you think of that? Does it sound like something you might enjoy reading? Let me know your thoughts in the comments! Here's a little sneak peak of Mauritius:

I'm also thinking of doing some vlogs along with these posts. I'm not sure about that yet, 'cause I have basically zero experience with vlogging. It might be fun to film a bit during my trips though and share those vlogs with you. What do you think? Again, do let me know in the comments :)

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Cover Art by Of Stacks and Cups via Pagemodo

Sunday, August 16, 2015

The Classics Book Tag

Hi guys. So today I'm doing the Classics Book Tag. This tag was created by book blogger Vienna over at It's a Books World. I decided to do this tag partly because I love classics but also to give some recommendations to those of you who might be interested in discovering classics but who aren't too sure where to start. 

Note: I’ve skipped three questions, including two related to TV and Movie Adaptations of classics because I’ve not really watched any of those. Check out the original post for all the questions should you wish to do this tag.

1. An overhyped classic you really didn't like

Emma by Jane Austen. Okay, I've said it before, but I really have a hard time enjoying Jane Austen's books. In Emma, the titular character is a rather shallow girl whose main hobby is, wait for it, match-making. My main problem with this book, and a few others by Jane Austen, is that the heroine has little ambition other than bagging the right husband. I think that this book, or this author in general, is overhyped because there are many more classics out there with more interesting female characters and deeper plots. Team Brontë forever! 

2. Favorite time period to read about

Dubliners in the Everyman's Library Edition without the dust jacket

Although I enjoy books from different time periods, I do have a preference for 20th century literature. My favorite period setting has to be the early 20th century Dublin from Dubliners, a short story collection by James Joyce. The book offers a very realistic portrayal of Irish middle class life while retaining a pleasant narrative pace, and it was one of the books that first really got me into classics.

3. Favorite fairy-tale

The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Andersen. The original story is so sad and yet so hauntingly beautiful. I own the French edition of Andersen's tales and this book is full of gorgeous watercolor illustrations. I wish I could show you some of the other illustrations but the one I've included here is definitely among my favorites. 

4. Top 5 classics you would like to read (soon)

While my new copy of Jane Eyre hasn’t arrived in the mail yet, this is the classic I'm most dying to read and it'll in fact be a re-read. The other books I plan on reading soon are The House Of Mirth by Edith Warton, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë, The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne and A Room With A View by E.M. Forster. I've tried to refrain from reading these books' blurbs because I prefer discovering new stories without knowing too much about them. 

5. Favorite modern book/series based on a classic

I haven’t read much of those so I’m picking what I think is the only one I've actually read. The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, written by Gabrielle Zevin, is loosly based on Silas Marner by George Eliot. In Silas Marner, a recluse old man one day loses the treasure he's amassed over the years, only to find an abandoned baby shortly after. As this unlikely father decides to keep the baby, this whole life begins to change. In The Storied Life, there is indeed the loss of a treasured possession followed shortly by the apparition of the abandoned baby but that's as far as the similarities go. In The Storied Life, the 'recluse old man' becomes a sarcastic and bitter bookseller and the main story is set in a bookshop. This book is basically a must-read for book lovers and it's full with book quotes and references. 

6. Favorite edition(s) you'd like to collect more classics from

Found @ Books in Wernicke

I fell in love with classics around the same time I discovered the books from the Everyman's Library Edition. While I don't own any yet, I did read quite a few of those books because my uni library has practically the entire collection. These are very elegant hardbacks which come with a plain white cover and the traditional black spines with a portion in white containing the author's name and the title of the book. Lined up together, they look amazing on bookshelves. I hope to be able to get a book in this edition soon. 

7. An underhyped classic you'd recommend to everyone

Agnes Grey by Anne Brontë. It seems like I can't stop talking about this book and justly so. This is the first book by Anne, the lesser known of the Brontë sisters. It follows the story of Agnes, a young woman who spent all her life confined to the familiarity of her home, until she decides to take up a job as a governess. She sets out, rather excited to finally earn her own living, only to be confronted to the realities of the world out there. This is a rather short book, so it's perfect if you're trying to read classics but don't want to commit to chunky ones yet. 

So that's it for this tag guys. If you enjoy classics, then consider yourself tagged! 

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Cover Art by Of Stacks and Cups via Pagemodo

Monday, August 3, 2015

July Wrap-Up (11 books!)

I read 11 books in July, which is crazy since I've actually been super busy this past month. I was also very lucky to pick up some amazing books this month. Most of these are 4 stars or 5 stars book that I would absolutely recommend. If you've read these books too, I'd love to hear your thoughts about them!  

The Classics 

The first classic I read this month was Agnes Grey by Anne Brontë and I absolutely loved it. I gave it 5 stars. After a poor investment leaves her father heavily impoverished, Agnes Grey decides to take up a job as a governess to bring financial support to her family. Agnes has however no experience with the job and a secluded life confined to her family’s company has left her with little awareness of the real world out there. While she is initially enthusiastic to start working and earn her independence, the disdain of her employers and the indiscipline of their children soon bring her to a much harsher reality than the one she had envisioned. This beautifully written little book shows the struggles of an unmarried woman at a time where women had almost no job prospects save for the trying and often ungratifying task of the governess. A must read for all Brontë fans.

The next couple of books I read were books 1 and 2 in the Sherlock Holmes series by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. In A Study in Scarleta man is found dead in the bloodstained room of an abandoned house and Sherlock Holmes is called to assist the police in unraveling the mystery. The book also shows how Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson came to meet, setting the stage for one of the best bromances in literature. I loved this book and gave it 4 stars.

Book 2, The Sign of the Four, didn't disappoint either. It’s been a while since Sherlock Holmes has had any mystery to solve and he has sunk in a deep melancholy, resorting to cocaine-induced hazes to overcome his idleness. Everything changes though the day a beautiful young woman comes to him with a mystery unlike anything he’s ever faced before. Thus ensues a mystery involving a wronged woman, a stolen Indian treasure, a wooden-legged ruffian and even the beginning of a love story. I also gave this one 4 stars. 

The YA Books

This month I also read The Walled City by Ryan Graudin. This book was definitely one the best I've read so far this year. The Walled City is home to chaos. It’s where girls are pitilessly banished to brothels and gangs rule with fear and violence. In a place where trust is an open invitation to backstabbing, three people will find their lives unexpectedly interwoven. Dai is trying to escape a dark past. He has one shot at escaping the Walled City forever and starting a new life elsewhere but to get that, he has to fulfill a very dangerous mission for someone else. Jin, whom everyone believes to be a boy, is actually a girl who had to resort to disguise to escape the gangs and brothels of the city. For two years, she’s been surviving in the streets of the Walled City, while also trying to find her lost sister. Mei Yee has been trapped in a brothel for two years, dreaming to escape but afraid to do so. She’s prepared to give up of her dreams of freedom until one day, she sees a face at her window. I gave this book 5 stars.

I also read More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera, which I also really enjoyed. Life hasn’t been easy for Aaron Soto. Dealing with his family’s poverty and his father’s recent suicide has taken a toll on him. Although his girlfriend has been by his side throughout all of his ordeals, Aaron still can’t shake off the pain and haunting memories inside him. Then, one day, he meets Thomas. Suddenly Aaron has someone with whom he can fully be himself and at first, he feels like he might have at last found a path to happiness. But when his new friendship with Thomas start to turn the people in his life against him, Aaron decides to do something about the new person he’s become. If he can’t change the people around him, then he’ll change who he is. And thus, one day, he decides to try the Leteo Institute’s new and revolutionary memory-alteration procedure. This book was really well-written and fast-paced. I can't recommend it enough! I gave it 4 stars. 

The Children Books

Inkheart by Cornelia Funke, was also one of my favorite books this month. Meggie lives a quiet life with her father, a bookbinder. Father and daughter are very close, even sharing a common love for books. One day though, a mysterious visitor arrives with strange news and Meggie begins to realize that she doesn’t quite know her father the way she always thought she did. Indeed, her father has a secret he’s been keeping from her for years. He has an extraordinary magical power. A power that gives life to words and stories. Someone now wants this power for himself and sends his forces after Meggie’s father. And thus begins an adventure like those she always thought only happened in books. If you love books, then you need this one in your life. I gave it 5 stars. 

Isabelle Day Refuses To Die Of A Broken Heart, by Jane St. Anthony, follows the story of a young girl who moves in a new town with her mother after her father passes away. Isabelle is still pretty shaken by her father's death and at first finds it hard to open up to the new people in her life. Over time though, as new friendships develop, Isabelle begins to slowly become herself again. I gave it 3 stars. It was quite pleasant to read but ended in a rather abrupt and unsatisfying way. 

The Nowhere Emporium by Ross MacKenzie is about a young boy, Daniel, who stumbles one day across a shop unlike anything he's seen before. He is soon recruited by the owner, Mr Silver, and thus enters the magical universe of the Nowhere Emporium. Despite some similarities with books like Harry Potter and The Night Circus, I found this one quite fun to read, hence a 4-star rating. 

The Illustrated Children Books

These two books can both technically qualify as picture books, although they do come with a narrative text. My favorite was The Specific Ocean by Kyo Maclear. It's the story of a little girl who's unhappy to be spending her holidays in a lonely beach house with her family, until the the ocean begins to reveal its hidden magic to her. I found the artwork simply gorgeous, hence a 4-star rating. If you have kids or young siblings, you might want to get this book for them. 

The next book is The Tea Party in the Woods by Akiko Miyakoshi. Although it did have beautiful illustrations, I found the story to be way too simplistic, hence only a 3-star rating. It takes its roots in Little Red Riding Hood, although it comes with a unique fantasy spin.

This Month's Favorite 

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini totally made an emotional wreck out of me. This book follows the volatile and violent events of Afghanistan’s last 30 years through a very emphatic and human approach. Through the eyes of two women belonging to different generations, we discover the horrors of war, the weight of tragedy and finally the power of hope and courage. We watch these two women survive and grapple for their happiness as their very world falls apart. This book will haunt me for a very long time. I was scared of finding a tragedy-heavy war story and instead I discovered the beautiful and very human story of two women who lived, dreamed and hoped in a time where the world around them had turned to merciless chaos. A five star book, like few I've come across before.

So that's it for this month's wrap-up guys. Have you read any of the books mentioned here? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

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