First Lines Friday, Friday 56 and Book Blogger Hop ~ 3 July 2020

First Lines Friday

Today’s FIRST LINES are from Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz.

ONE SUMMER NIGHT I FELL ASLEEP, HOPING THE WORLD would be different when I woke. In the morning, when I opened my eyes, the world was the same. I threw off the sheets and lay there as the heat poured in through my open window

Benjamin Alire Saenz, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Friday 56 by Freda’s Voice

RULES:
*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to Page 56 or 56% on your ereader.
If you have to improvise, that is okay.
*Find a snippet, short and sweet.
*Post it, and add the url to your post in the Linky below.

My FRIDAY 56 is from page no. 56 of Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows #2) by Leigh Bardugo.

She knew what Bajan was doing, trying to make her think of home. But she was so hungry and the memory was so strong that her stomach growled anyway. She could see her mother damping the fire, see her flipping the bread with quick pinches of her fingers, smell the dough cooking over the ashes.

Leigh Bardugo, Crooked Kingdom
Book Blogger Hop

What book/books got a lot of hype but were a disappointment for you? (submitted by Elizabeth @ Silver’s Reviews)

There are a few of them, but most recently, Little Fires Everywhere was a big disappointment for me. I found the concept very simplistic and characters very black and white. I know a lot of people loved this book, but it simply wasn’t my cup of tea.


What are your current reads? Share the first lines of your current reads in comments!

A Declaration of The Rights of Magicians by H.G. Parry | Book Review

Title: A Declaration of The Rights of Magicians
Author: H.G. Parry
Genre: Fantasy, Historical Fiction
Publish Date: June 25, 2020
# of Pages: 544
Rating: 4.5/5
Buy it*Amazon

Synopsis – A Declaration of The Rights of Magicians

(Goodreads) It is the Age of Enlightenment — of new and magical political movements, from the necromancer Robespierre calling for revolution in France to the weather mage Toussaint L’Ouverture leading the slaves of Haiti in their fight for freedom, to the bold new Prime Minister William Pitt weighing the legalization of magic amongst commoners in Britain and abolition throughout its colonies overseas.

But amidst all of the upheaval of the early modern world, there is an unknown force inciting all of human civilization into violent conflict. And it will require the combined efforts of revolutionaries, magicians, and abolitionists to unmask this hidden enemy before the whole world falls to darkness and chaos.

Review of A Declaration of The Rights of Magicians

An immersive tale of revolution, politics, friendship and magic, A Declaration of the Rights of Magicians is a fantastic, beautifully original and factually accurate retelling of French, British and Caribbean history seeped with magic. It is the first book in a duology, the sequel of which is scheduled to release in 2021.

It is a slow, intricate and in-depth tale of the histories of France, London and Caribbean through the late eighteenth century. The environment in France is rife with revolution against the injustices of the current social system, which forbids magicians who are not aristocracy to use magic – even to protect their loved ones from imminent danger to life. On the other hand, London is on the path to abolish slavery, albeit slowly, under the leadership of the bold, young and revolutionary Prime Minister William Pitt and MP William Wilberforce. The Caribbean is under the clutches of slavery, the slaves magically spellbound to be under complete control of their masters.

As someone who hasn’t read this period in much detail, I was gripped by the story and the characterization of the prominent historical figures. The concept of recreating everything in an alternative, magical universe is brilliant and fit perfectly. Everything from the story and the characters to the world-building comes across as unbelievably real, and I can almost vouch that this must have happened in some parallel universe.

The characters and their relationships depicted are fascinating and very impactful. I absolutely loved the verbal exchanges between Robespierre and Camille, and between Pitt and Wilberforce. Though tedious to read at times, these conversations quite prominently reflected their political and social beliefs, the motivations behind their actions and the way they saw things. It was immensely fascinating to observe how people with the same ends in mind can see things very differently.

If you are a fan of morally grey characters and philosophical discussions, this book is for you! Almost all the conversations reflect on moral dilemmas and questions of what is right and what is wrong, and how thin and easily overlooked is the line between them. All the characters have a vision of freedom and equality and go extreme lengths to realize it, but do the ends always justify the means? Where does one draw a line? How many times is “just this one time” justified?

To be very honest, this book isn’t for everyone. It will bore some people to death and be hugely loved by others. For one, it is hugely political and historical in nature. There is lengthy and philosophical dialogue, including speeches, quite often running a few pages, with long sentences difficult to comprehend if you are not paying full attention. It is dark and intense and slightly unnerving with the depiction of slavery and dark magic. But if you are someone who loves history, epic fantasy and dark and dangerous magic, this book is perfect for you!

I’ll be eagerly looking forward to its sequel next year. I would definitely like to see more of Fina, and am curious to know where this epic tale takes us!

Lets Talk!

Is A Declaration of the Rights of Magicians on your TBR? Have you already read it?

Disclaimer: I received an ARC from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.

*Note: This is an affiliate link. If you purchase the book using this link, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Monthly Wrap Up | June 2020

Hey there bibliophiles!

It has been more than 3 months that I have been a part of the #bookblogger community, and I am truly surprised at the amount of joy and fulfillment running this blog has brought me. Not only have I found an outlet to ramble about the books I loved and hated, I have also found a wonderfully welcoming community of readers who are as crazy as me!

What I Read...

I read a grand total of 16 books this month, including two 500+ pages long and two graphic novels. Not bad!

Book(s) of the Month

Ahhh I loved this book so much! I felt so much pain and happiness at the same time while reading this.

Quote of the Month

I wanted to tell them that I’d never had a friend, not ever, not a real one. Until Dante. I wanted to tell them that I never knew that people like Dante existed in the world, people who looked at the stars, and knew the mysteries of water, and knew enough to know that birds belonged to the heavens and weren’t meant to be shot down from their graceful flights by mean and stupid boys. I wanted to tell them that he had changed my life and that I would never be the same, not ever. And that somehow it felt like it was Dante who had saved my life and not the other way around. I wanted to tell them that he was the first human being aside from my mother who had ever made me want to talk about the things that scared me. I wanted to tell them so many things and yet I didn’t have the words. So I just stupidly repeated myself. “Dante’s my friend.

Alix E. Harrow, The Ten Thousand Doors of January

Currently Reading

March Posts

Reviews Coming up on the Blog

Goals

JUNE goals review

  • Reach 100 subscribers on WordPress ✅

    Yayy! Thank you bookish community to help me not only reach, but surpass this goal by a huge 30%! I hope I keep creating content worthy of you beautiful people😭
  • NOT have more than 3 books unread on my Netgalley/Edelweiss shelf at a time ( I have 6 unread currently on Edelweiss, so I need to read them before I request any more) ❌

    Not happening🤣😭 I got so many Netgalley approvals this month, I was honestly shocked. I am trying to get through them before requesting any more, but with so many good books coming, it is really hard to do so.
  • Keep a book journal to record quotes, thoughts and other bookish things ✅

    Though it is still a work in progress. I had wanted it to be pretty, but I realized that I can’t be bothered to put in the work. Besides, my bookish thoughts come in fits and starts, so I cannot really write them down aesthetically!

    Aesthetics aside, keeping a bookish journal has really helped me jot down my thoughts which helps me write a more coherent review without forgetting anything noteworthy.

JULY Goals

  • Reach 175 subscribers on WordPress
  • Organize my book shelves
  • Try my hands at calligraphy!

In Real Life/Other Things

  • Completed two years at my present job! Cannot believe how fast time flies…it seems just yesterday that I was fretting over campus placements and preparing for interviews!
  • I shifted houses just 2 days back. I am still in the process of unpacking boxes. This house is larger than the previous one, so I am hoping to arrange my bookshelves more aesthetically!

That’s it for me! I hope you enjoyed reading my monthly update. I would like to hear from you too.

How was your month? What was new in YOUR life this month?

Which books did you read? What was your best read?

Any other thing you want to share?

You can pick any categories from above and can tell me your interpretations. Also, if you do a monthly wrap-up, leave me your link in comments and I’ll be sure to visit 🙂 

*Linking to @Feedyourfictionaddiction who hosts monthly wrap up round up and giveaway!

Most Anticipated Book Releases for The Second Half of 2020

Hey bookworms!

So first half of this weird, messy and memorable year 2020 is already over, and with it came some amazing and highly anticipated book releases by authors old and new.

The second half of 2020 promises to be even better (or atleast, equally good) for us bookish people with some beautiful book releases. Here is a list of some highly anticipated book releases in the second half of 2020.

Happy Reading!

The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow

Those who visit this blog often would know that I have talked about this book numerous times. I loved The Ten Thousand Doors of January and am super excited for this one. I recently got approved for its ARC on Netgalley, and cannot wait to dive into it!

Goodreads Blurb: In 1893, there’s no such thing as witches. There used to be, in the wild, dark days before the burnings began, but now witching is nothing but tidy charms and nursery rhymes. If the modern woman wants any measure of power, she must find it at the ballot box.

But when the Eastwood sisters–James Juniper, Agnes Amaranth, and Beatrice Belladonna–join the suffragists of New Salem, they begin to pursue the forgotten words and ways that might turn the women’s movement into the witch’s movement. Stalked by shadows and sickness, hunted by forces who will not suffer a witch to vote-and perhaps not even to live-the sisters will need to delve into the oldest magics, draw new alliances, and heal the bond between them if they want to survive.

There’s no such thing as witches. But there will be.

Sisters by Daisy Johnson

Written by the youngest author to have been short-listed for the Man Booker Prize, Sisters had been on my radar for some time. No doubt, I jumped with joy when I was approved for an ARC on Netgalley!

Goodreads Blurb: Born just ten months apart, July and September are thick as thieves, never needing anyone but each other. Now, following a case of school bullying, the teens have moved away with their single mother to a long-abandoned family home near the shore. In their new, isolated life, July finds that the deep bond she has always shared with September is shifting in ways she cannot entirely understand. A creeping sense of dread and unease descends inside the house. Meanwhile, outside, the sisters push boundaries of behavior—until a series of shocking encounters tests the limits of their shared experience, and forces shocking revelations about the girls’ past and future.

Anxious People by Fredrick Backman

From the author of the much-loved novel ‘A Man Called Ove’, Anxious People promises to be equally beautiful and heart-warming. I am amazed I got an ARC of this one!

Goodreads Blurb: A bank robber on the run locks himself in with an over-enthusiastic estate agent, two bitter IKEA-addicts, a pregnant woman, a suicidal multi-millionaire and a rabbit. In the end the robber gives up and lets everyone go, but when the police storm the apartment it is . . . empty.

In a series of dysfunctional testimonies after the event, the witnesses all tell their version of what really happened and it’s clear we have a classic locked-room mystery on our hands: How did the robber manage to escape? Why is everyone so angry? And: What is WRONG with people these days? 

These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong

I was sold at the cover itself, but the blurb is even more interesting! Gang Wars set in Shanghai in 1926 – can it get any better?

Goodreads Blurb: The year is 1926, and Shanghai hums to the tune of debauchery.

A blood feud between two gangs runs the streets red, leaving the city helpless in the grip of chaos. At the heart of it all is eighteen-year-old Juliette Cai, a former flapper who has returned to assume her role as the proud heir of the Scarlet Gang—a network of criminals far above the law. Their only rivals in power are the White Flowers, who have fought the Scarlets for generations. And behind every move is their heir, Roma Montagov, Juliette’s first love…and first betrayal.

But when gangsters on both sides show signs of instability culminating in clawing their own throats out, the people start to whisper. Of a contagion, a madness. Of a monster in the shadows. As the deaths stack up, Juliette and Roma must set their guns—and grudges—aside and work together, for if they can’t stop this mayhem, then there will be no city left for either to rule. 

A Deadly Education (Scholomance #1) by Naomi Novik

Pitched as a dark, feminist, Harry Potter, with a magical school, monsters who lurk everywhere and dark magic everywhere. Need I say more?

Goodreads Blurb: Lesson One of the Scholomance

Learning has never been this deadly

A Deadly Education is set at Scholomance, a school for the magically gifted where failure means certain death (for real) — until one girl, El, begins to unlock its many secrets. There are no teachers, no holidays, and no friendships, save strategic ones. Survival is more important than any letter grade, for the school won’t allow its students to leave until they graduate… or die! The rules are deceptively simple: Don’t walk the halls alone. And beware of the monsters who lurk everywhere. El is uniquely prepared for the school’s dangers. She may be without allies, but she possesses a dark power strong enough to level mountains and wipe out millions. It would be easy enough for El to defeat the monsters that prowl the school. The problem? Her powerful dark magic might also kill all the other students.

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

I have always loved books about libraries. A book with a magical library where each book provides a chance at an alternate life – I am sold!

Goodreads Blurb: ‘Between life and death there is a library, and within that library, the shelves go on forever. Every book provides a chance to try another life you could have lived. To see how things would be if you had made other choices… Would you have done anything different, if you had the chance to undo your regrets?’

A dazzling novel about all the choices that go into a life well lived, from the internationally bestselling author of Reasons to Stay Alive and How To Stop Time.

Somewhere out beyond the edge of the universe there is a library that contains an infinite number of books, each one the story of another reality. One tells the story of your life as it is, along with another book for the other life you could have lived if you had made a different choice at any point in your life. While we all wonder how our lives might have been, what if you had the chance to go to the library and see for yourself? Would any of these other lives truly be better?

In The Midnight Library, Matt Haig’s enchanting new novel, Nora Seed finds herself faced with this decision. Faced with the possibility of changing her life for a new one, following a different career, undoing old breakups, realizing her dreams of becoming a glaciologist; she must search within herself as she travels through the Midnight Library to decide what is truly fulfilling in life, and what makes it worth living in the first place.

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab

Another magical book from the author of ‘Shades of Magic’ series, this book promises to be just as enchanting.

Goodreads Blurb: A Life No One Will Remember. A Story You Will Never Forget.

France, 1714: in a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets.

Thus begins the extraordinary life of Addie LaRue, and a dazzling adventure that will play out across centuries and continents, across history and art, as a young woman learns how far she will go to leave her mark on the world.

But everything changes when, after nearly 300 years, Addie stumbles across a young man in a hidden bookstore and he remembers her name. 

Where Dreams Descend by Janella Angeles

I would read this one for its pretty cover alone! But the blurb also sounds magnificent.

Goodreads Blurb: In a city covered in ice and ruin, a group of magicians face off in a daring game of magical feats to find the next headliner of the Conquering Circus, only to find themselves under the threat of an unseen danger striking behind the scenes.

As each act becomes more and more risky and the number of missing magicians piles up, three are forced to reckon with their secrets before the darkness comes for them next.

The Star: Kallia, a powerful showgirl out to prove she’s the best no matter the cost

The Master: Jack, the enigmatic keeper of the club, and more than one lie told

The Magician: Demarco, the brooding judge with a dark past he can no longer hide

Where Dreams Descend is the startling and romantic first book in Janella Angeles’ debut Kingdom of Cards fantasy duology where magic is both celebrated and feared, and no heart is left unscathed.

The Book of Lost Names by Kristin Harmel

Being an ardent fan of World War II books, this one had to be on my list!

Goodreads Blurb: Eva Traube Abrams, a semi-retired librarian in Florida, is shelving books one morning when her eyes lock on a photograph in a magazine lying open nearby. She freezes; it’s an image of a book she hasn’t seen in sixty-five years—a book she recognizes as The Book of Lost Names.

The accompanying article discusses the looting of libraries by the Nazis across Europe during World War II—an experience Eva remembers well—and the search to reunite people with the texts taken from them so long ago. The book in the photograph, an eighteenth-century religious text thought to have been taken from France in the waning days of the war, is one of the most fascinating cases. Now housed in Berlin’s Zentral- und Landesbibliothek library, it appears to contain some sort of code, but researchers don’t know where it came from—or what the code means. Only Eva holds the answer—but will she have the strength to revisit old memories and help reunite those lost during the war?

As a graduate student in 1942, Eva was forced to flee Paris after the arrest of her father, a Polish Jew. Finding refuge in a small mountain town in the Free Zone, she begins forging identity documents for Jewish children fleeing to neutral Switzerland. But erasing people comes with a price, and along with a mysterious, handsome forger named Rémy, Eva decides she must find a way to preserve the real names of the children who are too young to remember who they really are. The records they keep in The Book of Lost Names will become even more vital when the resistance cell they work for is betrayed and Rémy disappears.

An engaging and evocative novel reminiscent of The Lost Girls of Paris and The Alice NetworkThe Book of Lost Names is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit and the power of bravery and love in the face of evil. 

The Left-Handed Booksellers of London by Garth Nix

A magical, alternate reality about booksellers? Sign me up!

Goodreads Blurb: In a slightly alternate London in 1983, Susan Arkshaw is looking for her father, a man she has never met. Crime boss Frank Thringley might be able to help her, but Susan doesn’t get time to ask Frank any questions before he is turned to dust by the prick of a silver hatpin in the hands of the outrageously attractive Merlin.

Merlin is a young left-handed bookseller (one of the fighting ones). With the right-handed booksellers (the intellectual ones), he belongs to an extended family of magical beings who police the mythic and legendary Old World when it intrudes on the modern world, in addition to running several bookshops.

Susan’s search for her father begins with her mother’s possibly misremembered or misspelled surnames, a reading-room ticket, and a silver cigarette case engraved with something that might be a coat of arms.

Merlin has a quest of his own: to find the Old World entity who used ordinary criminals to kill his mother. As he and his sister, a right-handed bookseller named Vivien, tread in the path of a botched or covered-up police investigation from years past, they find their quest strangely overlaps with Susan’s. Who or what was her father? Susan, Merlin, and Vivien must find out, as the Old World erupts dangerously into the New.


Lets Talk!

Are any of these books on your TBR for the second half of 2020?

What are some of your most anticipated releases for the second half of the year?

Its Monday! What are you reading? ~ 29 June 2020

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? a place to meet up and share what you have been, and are about to be reading over the week. It’s a great post to organise yourself. It’s an opportunity to visit and comment and er… add to your groaning TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started on J Kaye’s blog and then was hosted by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at The Book Date.

Hey bookish people!

I hope everyone is doing well and feeling positive about the second-half of 2020. My last week has been spent packing, as I am shifting houses tomorrow. I am eager to redecorate and am also planning to buy a new book shelf!

WHAT I READ LAST WEEK

WHAT I AM READING NOW

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

Kell is one of the last Antari—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons; Red, Grey, White, and, once upon a time, Black.

Kell was raised in Arnes—Red London—and officially serves the Maresh Empire as an ambassador, traveling between the frequent bloody regime changes in White London and the court of George III in the dullest of Londons, the …more

Anxious People by Fredrik Backman

A bank robber on the run locks himself in with an over-enthusiastic estate agent, two bitter IKEA-addicts, a pregnant woman, a suicidal multi-millionaire and a rabbit. In the end the robber gives up and lets everyone go, but when the police storm the apartment it is . . . empty.

In a series of dysfunctional testimonies after the event, the witnesses all tell their version o …more

UP NEXT

Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows #2) by Leigh Bardugo

Welcome to the world of the Grisha.

Kaz Brekker and his crew of deadly outcasts have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn’t think they’d survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they’re right back to fighting for their lives.

Double-crossed and badly weakened, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descen …more

The Orphan Collector by Ellen Marie Wiseman

In the fall of 1918, thirteen-year-old German immigrant Pia Lange longs to be far from Philadelphia’s overcrowded streets and slums, and from the anti-German sentiment that compelled her father to enlist in the U.S. Army, hoping to prove his loyalty. But an even more urgent threat has arrived. Spanish influenza is spreading through the city. Soon, dead and dying are everyw …more

LAST WEEK’S POSTS


What are you reading now? What do you plan to read next?

Link you #IMWAYR posts below and I will check them out.