8 Things I Look For In Books // does it show that I am desperate for recs?

Excellent news alert! I just found out I got selected for a blog tour for one of my most anticipated releases of 2021! *happy little jig* Pretty good, right?

Soo what are we going to talk about today? That’s right, Rachel is going to list certain things that generally (pfft what a joke, the correct word is always) make her fall heads over heels in love with a book. And since short (what an understatement) introductions have become somewhat of a trend on this blog, we get started immediately.

Presenting – The 8 things that I love in books!

#1 Found Family. Let’s face it. Found family is THE best trope to ever exist, and I know I’ll never in my life get tired of it. After all its no coincidence that on Goodreads my ‘found family’ shelf is pretty similar to my ‘best books ever’ shelf, right?

#2 Banter. Come on, give me all that (friendly, or not?) rivalry with the sharp retorts, the stupid (sometimes actually funny, admit it) puns and the hiding of smiles at witty remarks.

#3 Sass. What is a book without at least one sassy character? We all know and love the fearless badass females who never seem lost for words and have the most incredible way of doing or saying even the most mundane things.

#4 Grumpy-Sunshine trope. I realize I can’t call this the best trope ever since I already did that in #1. BUT this is a very close second. It provides for plenty of banter, and who doesn’t love seeing the classic ‘grumpy’ character pretending he’s annoyed but is secretly enjoying the quirks of the ‘sunshine’?

#5 Characters who like to read. Ah well I like to know I’ve atleast something in common with fictional characters, and since I am never going to be brave enough wage battles against the evil, my love for reading will have to do.

#6 Mr. Narrowed Eyes who walks with a flashing neon sign that says “I am evil with no emotions” but is actually a sensitive marshmallow. I actually made an entire post about this trope earlier this year(I still have no idea what it’s called so I made up a name). So these are basically characters who for some incomprehensible reason keep trying to prove to the world just how evil they are but they are the exact opposite.

#7 Mind-boggling endings. It might seem a bit out-of-the-ordinary but I actually enjoy books ending in a way that makes my mouth hang open trying to process everything.

#8 Lots of things happening all at once. It’s no secret that I like to see lots of action and fast paced reads are generally my type (though I have been proved wrong on more than one occasion).

As you probably may have gathered, it would not be inaccurate if I would have titled this post as “Things I Loved In Six Of Crows”, but we’re going to ignore that. Please and thank you.

What are some things you love seeing in books? Let’s chat in the comments!

Missed my previous posts? Click on the links below to read them!

Books As Road Trips // a random post that emerged out of the void

The Young Elites vs The Hype-o-Meter!

Six Of Crows Quotes As Real Life Moments!

You know a book was truly unforgettable when it persists in Rachel’s memory (who doesn’t remember what she ate this morning) after nearly 4 months of her having read it. The constant reading of memes and quotes and the S&B show were quite helpful too. Therefore I present to you SoC nostalgia because I am evil that way quotes from Six Of Crows and Crooked Kingdom as moments in my life!

“Fear is a phoenix. You can watch it burn a thousand times and still it will return.”

I have probably given about a million speeches in front of small, medium, large, huge, and extremely huge (ugh why do I sound like I am naming dress sizes) audiences but my knees still shake and there is always a slight quiver in my voice when I start speaking on any kind of raised platform with hundreds of people staring at me. Stage fright on an epic level, right? And then after the speech, every single time, I get that smug feeling which says that this will be the last time said phoenix attacks me. And every single time, that feeling is wrong.

“Better terrible truths than kind lies.”

Me to my friends/classmates in any group project/literally anything else that they are making extremely ~mediocre~ : No. I hate this. This is not acceptable at all.

My mom/teacher: *insert admonishing tone* Rachel! Don’t be so insensitive!! You’re discouraging them.

Me: *deadpan* Better terrible truths than kind lies.

My Aries self is one with this quote. Period.

“Always hit where the mark isn’t looking”

“Who’s Mark?” asked Wylan.”

Me when I (very rarely, I assure you) zone out during my online classes and the teacher asks me a question. Different context, same energy.

Brick by brick, I will destroy you.

Lower the intensity please, but this is me to every fictional villain who hurts/tries to hurt my precious favourite characters. Grit teeth, clenched fists, totally in character.

“Would it kill him to smile every once in a while?” Jesper asked.
“Very possibly.”

Me when I am trying to keep a straight face in my online classes when some of the hilarious SoC memes I read a day back make a dramatic entry into my helpless mind. Seriously, very bad timing.

“Do not be afraid. Fear is how they control you.”

“They” being most teachers who take often take sadistic pleasure in describing how extremely difficult the examination paper is going to be. So, to all my fellow sufferers students – do not be afraid. You know why, right?

“You’re our chemist, Wylan,” said Nina hopefully. “What do you think?”
Wylan shrugged. “Maybe. Not all poisons have an antidote.”
Jesper snorted. “That’s why we call him Wylan Van Sunshine.”

I feel sorry for Wylan because I get this so much myself. Why is it that I come off as pessimistic when I am only trying to be practical? Like isn’t it a good thing to take all the ways something good go wrong into consideration? Just me? Umm okay, I’ll show myself out.

No Mourners. No Funerals.

This will be future me to myself when I finally muster enough courage to reread the Six Of Crows duology which I know will wreck me all over again.

Do you remember any quote-worthy moments of your life? Share them with me in the comments!

The Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag 2021

Is it weird that ever since I became a blogger, I’ve wanted to do the Mid Year Freak Out Tag without knowing what exactly it is? Yes, definitely weird🙃 But now that has changed since I did my homework and read lots of Mid Year Freak Out posts by other bloggers from previous years.

True to the name of this post, I am freaking out. Like seriously, when did time sprout wings? Just yesterday I was getting tired of the new year wishes and memes, and we are halfway through already? Whoa.

Till 25th June, I’ve read 37 books and a total of 14348 pages which are both mind blowing, when compared to previous years (I didn’t track my reading before this year, but I know I got nowhere close to these figures). I am doing quite good on my goodreads goal of 65 books, considering that I am 6 books ahead of schedule. Without further ado, let’s start with the tag!

Best Books So Far In 2021

Surprise surprise! Six Of Crows and The House In The Cerulean Sea. Linked below are my reviews for the same.

Six Of Crows by Leigh Bardugo | Book Review || Book Review: The House In The Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune

Best Sequels In 2021

Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows, #2)

Supernova was by far the best book in the Renegades trilogy! Read my review here

I love the Aurora Cycle series with all my heart, but somehow Aurora Burning was even better than Aurora Rising! Aurora Burning by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff | Review

Crooked Kingdom does not need any explanation as to why I am willing to die over it. Period.

New Releases I Want To Read

There are SO many of them, but I’ll go with the top 3.

The Ones We're Meant to Find

The Immortal Game

Amari and the Night Brothers (Supernatural Investigations, #1)

Most Anticipated Release For The Second Half Of 2021

Aurora's End (The Aurora Cycle, #3)

Definitely Aurora’s End, the final book in the Aurora Cycle duology-soon-to-be-a-trilogy. After THAT cliffhanger in Aurora Burning (which is THE worst cliffhanger in the history of cliffhangers, if I do say so myself) I can’t wait to see how this turns out. (Also, can we please scream about THAT GORGEOUS COVER?!)

Biggest Disappointment of 2021

The Infinity Courts (The Infinity Courts, #1)

There have been quite a few books that did not live up to my expectations, but the one that hurt the most has to be The Infinity Courts. I rated it 1.5 stars. Shocking, isn’t it? What’s more is that this book had so much potential with such a cool concept *cue the sighing and head shaking* Read my review here.

Biggest Surprises Of 2021

Malamander and Book Scavenger. Both these lovely books reminded me why I love middle grade so much. Linked below are my reviews!

Book Review: Malamander by Thomas Taylor || Book Scavenger by Jennifer Bertman || Mini-review, some art, and a little “book scavenger” game of my own!

Favourite New Authors

Well, Leigh Bardugo and Marissa Meyer probably?

Book That Made You Cry

The House In The Cerulean Sea all the way. It takes a lot for a book to make me cry, and this one had it all and much more.

Book That Made You Happy

Is it cheating if I say The House In The Cerulean Sea again? Because yes, this book gave me ALL the feels. I laughed, I cried, I smiled through my tears.

Most Beautiful Books You Got In 2021

These were both part of my birthday book haul. I am currently reading The Girl Who Drank The Moon.

Books You Need To Read By The End Of 2021

A Dark and Hollow Star (A Dark and Hollow Star, #1)
The Young Elites (The Young Elites, #1)
Sweet & Bitter Magic
King of Scars (King of Scars, #1)
The Gilded Ones (Deathless, #1)
These Violent Delights (These Violent Delights, #1)
It Ends in Fire
The Ones We're Meant to Find
Legendborn (Legendborn, #1)
The Immortal Game

I just picked some books from the top of my head, and though I definitely want to read these books asap, they are in no way the only books I want to read this year. Also if you’ve read any of these, I’d love to hear your opinion!

Which are your best reads of 2021 so far? What are some new releases that you haven’t read yet but want to? Let me know in the comments, and feel free to link your mid year freak out post if you’ve made one!

Normal! // Fantasies In Which The Main Character Does Not Have Magical Abilities

Let’s play that game where you have to say the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear a particular word. Music? Dancing. TV? Netflix. Fantasy? Magic…oh wait.

Welcome to the fourth and final post in the series of themed recommendation posts I have been writing on my blog lately! In this series, I choose a random theme, and give you some of the best books I have read based on that theme. You can read my previous posts which were part of this series here, here and here!

Okay, so let’s talk about that little game I played in the beginning. Why is that the human brain associates fantasy with magic? Of course, this association is not unjustified. I believe about 95% of books belonging to the fantasy genre that I have read recently revolve around magic and/or have a main character who has magical powers. But fantasy itself should not be defined as mere magic. In light of this, today Rachel brings you a list of fantasy novels she loved which have a ‘normal’ main character, as in, the main character does not have any magical powers. Click on the cover images to add the books to your Goodreads TBR!

The House In The Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune || My Review

The House In The Cerulean Sea is going to be at the top of every recommendation post (and other posts too) from now on so you’ll have to get used to it. What can I say about this beautiful book that hasn’t already been said? Go read this heartwarming, hopeful and magical (albeit without the literal magic- at least not in the main character) fantasy if you haven’t already.

Divergent by Veronica Roth

I am impressed how the author has created such an immersive dystopian world without it being based on magic. I was quite obsessed with the trilogy when I read it though some things in Allegiant were disappointing *cough* that ending *cough* but do give it a read if you’re looking for an intense and fast paced dystopian fantasy.

Aurora Rising by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman || My Review

Yes, yes I know what you’re thinking but I am not really considering Auri as a main character because she doesn’t have much role to play in this book as in the second one (and anyway what she does is not exactly ‘magic’, right?). But looking at our crew, the six main characters, none of them have magical powers and perhaps that’s one of the reasons Aurora Cycle duology is a huge favourite of mine.

The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

Ah I had read this so long back (read: 1.5 years back), in the school library. I don’t remember much, but I do recollect recommending this to a lot of my friends and being surprised about the lack of magical powers in the characters.

The Great Zoo Of China by Matthew Reily

I just realized I haven’t mentioned this book on my blog ever! I mean, how is that possible? Trust me to forget unforgettable books. Anyway, The Great Zoo Of China is a brilliant book (5 stars from me when I read it a year back!) with lots of action, and even more dragons. Perfect for anyone suffering from Jurassic Park hangover.

Honourable Mentions

Six Of Crows by Leigh Bardugo!! Yes, there is magic and all in the Grishaverse, but do notice that of our six crows, four do not have any magical abilities (oh my god I hope nobody got spoiled) hence the mention.

I recently read the entire Heroes Of Olympus series by Rick Riordan and I realized that from the crew of 7 demigods, it is only Annabeth who does not have any magical powers. The HOO series will definitely not make it to this list (too much magic!) but Annabeth does deserve an honorable mention, doesn’t she?


And with that, my friends, we conclude this post as well as the recommendation series! I must admit, recommendation posts are much harder than they look, but I did enjoy writing all the four posts. Hopefully you enjoyed reading them too and found some new books to add to your TBR list.

Did you find this recommendation series helpful? Have you read any of the books I mentioned in this post? Which is your favourite fantasy with a ‘normal’ main character? Chat with me in the comments! Until later!!

An epilogue to the Six Of Crows duology!

So you know how I am always shouting out my love for the Six of Crows duology? I actually read the duology because it was the BOTM for After The Story, a writing project hosted by Ahaana @Windows To Worlds and Becky @Dusts Of Magic. We basically read books and write fanfiction for them. So for my piece, I have written an epilogue kinda-thing (It is actually much longer than epilogues usually are), which continues the story from the end of the Crooked Kingdom. I know it is long, but please do give it a read!

KAZ

For the first time in his life, Kaz was not sure. He was not sure what to write in the blank pages lying on his desk. He was not sure everything would work out the way he thought it would. He wasn’t even sure that he hadn’t lost his mind. But he was pretty sure about one thing. Whatever he was going to do, he could not do it alone. He needed his crew beside him. With this in mind, he began writing.

INEJ

Inej had not been surprised when she saw an envelope with the familiar black seal on it, on her desk in her new apartment. Well, one could hardly call it an apartment – it was a two-room unfurnished cabin, just enough for her and her parents. With the kind of money Inej had now, she could easily afford a mansion, maybe even one like Van Eck’s. Wylan’s, Inej corrected herself. But she could not risk flaunting her newly found wealth in all of Kerch. That would mean exposing herself to all her enemies, and Kaz would probably kill her before they did. Inej opened the envelope and smiled to herself.

WYLAN

Wylan had been feeling restless since the last few days. He could not really understand why. He had the entire mansion to himself, there were servants at his service the entire time, there was no one to taunt him and make him feel small, and on top of it all he had Jesper. So what was it that was missing? He felt the urge to…wait, was that an urge to steal? To do something not quite on the side of the law? No, that can’t be. Even if it were, to admit it would mean inviting a certain doom in the form of Jesper’s teasing. You’ve been thoroughly corrupted. What if Jesper was right?

It was because of this state of mind that Wylan tried to hide his excitement when one of the servants delivered the envelope. He had just read its contents when the bell announcing dinner rang. Wylan rushed out of the door of his room, and in his excitement, almost wanted to slide down the banisters of the stairs, but then thought better of it. He walked down the stairs, doing his best to compose himself before meeting Jesper, who was already at the table.

JESPER

Jesper had never in his life imagined that he would be living in a huge mansion, be attended by servants, and have any luxury one could possibly want. As he sat on the table, waiting for Wylan to arrive, one of the servants offered to massage his head. Jesper whistled. I could get used to this. When Wylan finally came and sat down on the chair opposite to him, Jesper asked him, “Well?”

“Well what?” Wylan asked, and Jesper sighed. “You have something to tell me, don’t you? So why don’t you just spill it?”  Wylan raised an eyebrow, but then told Jesper about Kaz’s letter. Jesper tried not to show it, but it felt like he had been punched in the gut. Kaz chose to send a letter to Wylan, when he could have sent it to him? Had he not forgiven him after all? Jesper shook off the hurt he felt and tried to focus on what Wylan was saying. “So the letter contained nothing important other than an address? No mention of why Kaz wants to meet us?” Wylan nodded, then said with a shrug, “Well, you know Kaz.” Jesper smiled ruefully. I thought I did.

NINA

Nina was exhausted. She had returned to Ravka after making sure Matthias got the kind of burial he had wanted in Fjerda. It had been a grueling journey, and Nina had been glad she could finally get some rest in Ravka now. Then why had she jumped onto the first boat to Kerch she found after finding Kaz’s letter? For Ketterdam’s waffles? To meet Inej? This wasn’t true, and she could tell that Zoya hadn’t believed it either when she had told her she was leaving for Kerch. But she couldn’t exactly tell Zoya the truth, could she? That she had been tingling with excitement since she read Kaz’s letter, and was eager to know what Kaz had up his sleeve this time. Was that the Ketterdam port over there? Nina smiled. It felt like coming home.

KAZ

Kaz regarded the four teenagers sitting in front of him. He could almost feel the anxiousness and excitement coming out of them in waves. Good, so they hadn’t become the spoilt rich moneybags most people would become with the kind of money they had now. He cleared his throat and saw Jesper sit straight up in attention, and then slouch back down, hoping no one had noticed. Kaz shook his head and began. “Pekka Rollins has been spotted by a trusted source in Shu Han. He is in contact with several high-profile Shu. He suspects that Kai may still be alive, and is spreading this theory to the Shu. They have formed an alliance. Pekka’s part is to help them find Kai, and learn the formulae necessary for jurda parem.”

“And what will Pekka get in return?”, asked Jesper, his voice tense.

“The Barrel. The Shu have promised to ally with him in an attack on Ketterdam and eliminate all possible rival gangs. He wants to become the King of the Barrel once again.”, Kaz scoffed as he said the last words.

“So what are we going to do?”, Wylan said, wringing his hands nervously.

“We will attack first.”, Kaz said, as if it was the most obvious thing in the world.

“How?”, asked Nina. “The Shu army is not going to be defeated by a few Barrel thugs.”

“It is not”, Kaz agreed, and then leaned forward and questioned, “What’s the easiest way to destroy a hive full of bees who are waiting to sting you?”

“Put a bullet through it?”, inquired Jesper.

“Slash it into half?”, asked Inej.

“Bomb it into pieces?”, offered Wylan.

“Call an Exterminator?”, suggested Nina.

Kaz rolled his eyes. “The queen bee. You get rid of the queen bee, and the entire hive will be in such a chaos that they will fall into destruction themselves.”

Kaz could almost see the gears whirring in everyone’s brains. “Does that mean…”, began Inej. “Yes,” said Kaz, eyes gleaming. “We are going to Shu Han. We have an emperor to assassinate.”

I tried to show the internal struggles everyone was facing, through this writing. Also, the epilogue was already long enough (and I was also feeling too lazy to continue it) but for those who are wondering, Kaz did send Jesper a letter too. But it got intercepted by someone. Someone who might have been listening in when Kaz was sharing the plan with the others. 😱

Let’s Chat!

I don’t want to take any more of your time, but do let me know how you felt about my story, in the comments section. I will be writing similar fanfics throughout the year, so any feedback would be very welcome!

Six Of Crows by Leigh Bardugo | Book Review

Synopsis

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone. . . .

A convict with a thirst for revenge

A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager

A runaway with a privileged past

A spy known as the Wraith

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes

Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.

Rating

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

(5 out of 5 stars)

Review (non-spoiler)

Wow wow wow! Six Of Crows was every bit as fantastic as I had expected it to be. It makes me wonder, have I already read one of my favourite books of 2021?

I have plenty to say about 3 star and 4 star books (you might have noticed that in my previous reviews😁) but with 5 star reads…I am speechless. But I will still try my best to convince you to pick up this novel through my review.

Six Of Crows was fast-paced right from the beginning. Usually, YA novels start off slow, so this was a surprise. There were no introductions to the characters and to the world, and though all the names and the different groups were a lot to take in in the first chapter, everything was explained later on, through each character’s thoughts and memories.

That brings us to the other unique thing about this book. It had multiple POVs, around 7, which is a lot more than usual YA novels. I feel like this brought out each character’s feelings really beautifully, allowing us to familiarize ourselves with not just the main character, but the others as well. This is one major reason why this book gets 5 stars from me.

Then the action. Six Of Crows made me realize that I love books where things, you know, happen, like, all the time. In this book I felt like there was an action sequence and a climax in each and every chapter, leaving absolutely zero chances for any kind of boredom.

This book hardly had any of the cliche tropes -most books that I come across nowadays have, for instance, the main character was not a teenage girl who suddenly discovers she has magical powers. I mean, I do like those typical kind of books (I love KOTLC, so….) but Six Of Crows was a nice change, you know? All the characters were morally grey, I think, that really added to the book.

Favourite Quotes

“You haven’t been arrested since you were fourteen, and since I know you are not an honest man any more than you were an honest boy, I can only assume you have the quality I most need in a criminal: You don’t get caught.

“Kaz leaned back. “What’s the easiest way to steal a man’s wallet?”

“Knife to the throat?” asked Inej.

“Gun to the back?” said Jesper.

“Poison in his cup?” suggested Nina.

“You’re all horrible,” said Matthias.”

Jesper could never tell how much of what Kaz got away with was smarts and planning and how much was dumb luck.

Jesper knocked his head against the hull and cast his eyes heavenward. “Fine. But if Pekka Rollins kills us all, I’m going to get Wylan’s ghost to teach my ghost how to play the flute just so that I can annoy the hell out of your ghost.”

Brekker’s lips quirked. “I’ll just hire Matthias’ ghost to kick your ghost’s ass.”

“My ghost won’t associate with your ghost,” Matthias said primly, and then wondered if the sea air was rotting his brain.”

Rambling/Ranting

Alright, I showed a lot of restraint in the ‘review’ section by writing everything very formally and spoiler-free. But now I want to shout my heart out to the people who have read this book, which is why I present to you, my ‘ramblings’ section. This is going to be very much spoiler-y, so if you’ve not read the book, I’d suggest you go read it, and then later come back to this section.

First of all, Kaz. HOW CAN SOMEONE BE SO SMART? I really admire him for his foresight, I really really do (too many reallys?!). The decoy boat (remember? Ferolind, I think the name was) seriously blew my mind. And that was just the beginning of his amazing planning. I wish I could see his ‘scheming face’ as Inej, Jesper and later Wylan, call it. But when he’s so smart, WHY DIDN’T HE KILL OFF PEKKA ROLLINS IN THE CELL IN THE ICE COURT? (You can’t fool me Kaz, I know you easily could have killed him then and there). He would have got his revenge, and the crew would have one less problem to deal with. That just shows over-confidence, doesn’t it? Like he knows for sure that he would have another chance, and then he would kill him as he pleases. Maybe if he would have killed him, he wouldn’t have got that money from Pekka, but there are plenty of ways to earn that much money in Ketterdam, especially if you’re willing to sell your Crow Club shares, am I right Kaz?

I was beginning to like Inej, but I can’t help being cross about her attitude to Kaz. He is trying, isn’t he? She should understand how hard it is for him.

The one character of the crew that I didn’t care for was Nina. Wasn’t she too showy, and just unbearable, or am I the only one biased against her because of what she did to Matthias? But after finishing the book, I *may* have some respect for her, but only because she took the jurda parem to save the others.

The scientist had been dead all this while?! Serious dampener. It would have been so much more satisfying if after all that effort, they had actually found him.

How did Leigh Bardugo do it? The ending was not a cliffhanger, but was still very much a cliffhanger. Know what I mean? Anyway, I think I have shouted and screamed my heart out a bit too much, thanks for listening!

We have reached the end of this long post. Thanks for staying put. My final say on this book is Pick. It. Up. Right. Now.

And on that very *non-threatening* note, let’s conclude. Oh, and before you go, let’s say it together: NO MOURNERS, NO FUNERALS!