The Pen Pal Collab! (ft. Mahriya @ My Bookish Life)

Hullo inhabitants of planet Earth (or any other planet you find accommodating)!

Today is a special day featuring a very special person. What’s the occasion you ask? Well, no, it’s not exactly a birthday celebration, no.

Mahriya from MyBookishLife and I decided to finally collaborate together (which is, like, the greatest thing to ever happen to little Ranter here) and let the world witness a whirlwind of thoughts that was never before seen. Mahriya is one of the most wonderful, sweet and adorable bloggers I’ve ever had the honour of knowing, and this collab is as special as it is epic simply because that lady right there is phenomenal.

Besides, it’s about one of our all-time favourite books, and how can one honour his favourite book in any way other than write about it? With that said, we decided to think up of a prompt with the book in mind, and here’s what we came up with! The prompt is Kites, in honour of The Kite Runner, one of the greatest books I’ve ever read. And since today also happens to be Opposites Day (did you know that?), I’m posting Mahriya’s answer and she’s posting mine.

 

So here’s Mahriya’s answer, be sure to check out her blog for its epic and great content! No kidding, that girl has so much creativity stored in there it’s a tad too phenomenal. And while you are at it, you may find my answer to the prompt and perhaps you’d want to give it a go? Because I know it won’t be so tempting after you check out what Mahriya has written (she blew my mind away with the description, God). But it’d be awesome of you to check it out~


Kite Prompt.png

The kite. There it lay, drunkenly resting on the blue suitcase, still tired from the days when it used to be dragged around and ripped up in the never-ending sky. Those days were over. It had been many years since the Kite had felt the harsh wind of the world or the rough tiny hands of a human. And today, it would be stuffed away, taken to a different place altogether.

It was no longer elegant and beautiful as it had once been. Its edges has been folded by the hard walls of the cupboard and its string was limp whilst the actual kite itself was dead and silent. It hadn’t been used in years and the Kite couldn’t quite remember how the fresh fluffy clouds felt and  how the calm, blue sky looked. Not anymore. Now the Kite only knew of the the dark scary inside of the cupboard and the lonely days to come.
They had called the Kite ‘The Monster’, once. Its humongous, colourful face would roar in the wind and its tail would swirl around like a fire dancing. It would soar and rip through the air, with envious faces trailing behind.
Its new home would probably be in a dump far away from any contests or child. Far away from any attention or love. Far away from life and the world. It was no longer a champion, it was just a broken toy that no-one wanted to touch.
Children didn’t play anymore, only stared at screens and flat objects that they carried around with them. There were no annual Kite contests, only apps and games online.
There were no Kites, only broken toys.

There were no Children, only addicts.
There were no Kite Runners. Not anymore.

by mahriya.png


Oh God. Oh God. Was that fantabulous or what? Personally speaking, I’d like to sign up for writing lessons from her because it was just that good. Agreed?

Be sure to check out my answer to the prompt over at Mahriya’s blog, and while you’re at it, give her a hearty follow because that’s one of those decisions you won’t ever regret~

Tell me your thoughts on the prompt and its answers below! You know I love hearing (reading, really) them!

 

Love,

Midnight Ranter (aka Ayaka)

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The Mysterious Affair At Style– Book Review

Just when you think Agatha Christie’s books got old… she surprises you–practically arches one of her perfect eyebrows up–and, with a slightly devilish grin, triumphantly yells, ‘Ha! As if!’

 

..Leaving you staring after her awesomeness with your jaw practically passing out on the floor…

 

Hullo wonderful people!

Alright, dramatic reactions aside, let’s get on with the review and see what the back of the book has to say.

Agatha Christie’s first novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, was the result of a dare from her sister Madge who challenged her to write a story.

The story begins when Captain Hastings is sent back to England from the First World War due to injury and is invited to spend his sick leave at the beautiful Styles Court by his old friend John Cavendish. Here, Hastings meets John’s step-mother, Mrs Inglethorpe, and her new husband, Alfred. Despite the tranquil surroundings Hastings begins to realise that all is not right. When Mrs Inglethorpe is found poisoned, suspicion falls on the family, and another old friend, Hercule Poirot, is invited to investigate.

Now I know what you’re probably thinking right now is something along the lines of, ‘Hey mate, that sounds like a perfectly ordinary novel; what’re the theatrics up there for then?’

If you haven’t read anything by Agatha Christie before, I ought to tell you here and now that her books (or the few that I’ve read by her, at least) have this completely mystic aura about them, and maybe it’s the writing style, or perhaps it’s the tone, voice, soul or even spirit in between the pages; but there’s something that just gets you glued to the pages right away.

“You gave too much rein to your imagination. Imagination is a good servant, and a bad master. The simplest explanation is always the most likely.”

So I get that the plot sounds completely ordinary and perhaps even a little mundane for a lot of you, but to a mystery-loving ranter like yours truly here, this was everything. It was my first-ever Hercule Poirot novel, and I have to say, I was certainly not disappointed.

I guess a part of me was comparing Sherlock Holmes with Hercule Poirot in some subconscious way or another. (In case you don’t know– Sherlock Holmes is a fictional famous detective starring Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s novels (also Benedict Cumberbatch on BBC’s Sherlock, if you want a modern introduction); he also happens to be one of the greater loves of my life). So with two great detectives right there, I apparently had to compare them and see who does what better where.

Nope, don’t compare them, please.

“Sometimes I feel sure he is as mad as a hatter and then, just as he is at his maddest, I find there is a method in his madness.”

Poirot is a great little thing. And I don’t mean great in the Sherlock-Holmes-is-great sense; I mean he’s a wonderfully funny, comical and real character who’s surprisingly bubbly for someone so shrouded in mystery. I have noticed that throughout the entire novel, he spoke only with ambiguous wordings, literally making even the simplest facts seem doubtful. Because for some reason or the other, you think that maybe he’s lost a bit of his marbles with all the crazy cases he had to deal with, but oh boy is that man a genius. A genius so very mundane that it’s a tad intimidating how he doesn’t look or even appear it.

“Every murderer is probably somebody’s old friend,” observed Poirot philosophically. “You cannot mix up sentiment and reason.”

Christie’s novel, despite being a crime classic, was surprisingly breezy, humorous, and such an easy read. I guess what’s so impressive about her novels is that the amount of simplicity in them make them so amazingly crafted and complex that it kind of knocks you out and takes your breath away by the end. Her mystery was intriguing, definitely maddening and utterly amazing.

I know I have basically showered the book with compliments that seem out of place with a plot so simple, but this lady was not entitled the Queen of Crime for nothing, you guys. True, the way I felt kind of dumbfounded by the end wasn’t very flattering for neither me or poor Hastings (it’s written from his POV), but what can I say, I just love a challenging mystery. And this one?  This one was definitely one.


What about you? Read any mysteries lately? Will you give this one a go? Let me know in the comments below, I’d love to hear all about it! 

Loads of love, 

Midnight Ranter (aka Ayaka) 

3 Days, 3 Quotes: Day 3

Yay me for sticking to schedule (for once)!

Hullo wonderful folks! How’re you all today?

 

So today brings about the end of the quotes tag (sadly); and as it is Day 3, you may want to check out my previous choices and nominees for Days 1 and 2, maybe you’ll like them as much as I did!

So today’s quote is..umm.. what can I say.. It’s extra special. Both because it holds a very relatable meaning, and because this comes from the very book that got me into reading.

So.. where are my drummers?

*drumroll*

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I know it’s just a good ol’ John Green and that most (or all?) of the hype about his books is gone but I just can’t not respect that man and his books; they’re just so precious~ And yes, it was that fateful year, back in 2014, when that book came out, that I decided to give this ‘reading‘ activity a go. And what do you know? 2 years later, here I am, sitting aside with my nose buried in a book, thinking about books and–you guessed it– ranting about books.

 

So thank you John Green for making me realise that there was a world out there filled with endless possibilities– a world where I could lose myself to, and yet find more about who I am nonetheless.

 

And besides, this quote is rather fitting for the last day of a quote-tag, don’t you think?

 

So yeah– now onto our last three nominees!

  1. Azura Skye
  2. BookslayerReads
  3. Clockwork Bibliophile

 

And that’s the end of it! Have you read The Fault In Our Stars? Any of John Green’s books? What quotes do you like from his books? Whatever it is, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

 

Loads of love,

Midnight Ranter (aka Ayaka)

3 Days, 3 Quotes: Day 2

I’m starting to think that I may have commitment issues…. or maybe I’m just irresponsible..

I know, I know. This quote should’ve been here yesterday but.. I had this infernal paper to write and got caught up in it. My apologies, dear readers.

Speaking of Infernal; today’s quote is from one of my all-time favourite trilogies. Any guesses?

(Oh yes, if you want Day 1’s quote, it’s right here)

Another drumroll before the grand reveal, please:

*drumroll*

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This is especially true in my case because were it not for books, I would’ve been a completely different person compared to who I am today. So thank you books for making me choose to live a thousand lives instead of just one!

And the nominees for the day are:

  1. bookishthingsandtea
  2. rantandraveaboutbooks
  3. jessreadsbooks

Have you read The Infernal Devices trilogy yet? Can you relate to today’s quote as much as I do? Let me know below!

 

Signed,

Midnight Ranter (aka Ayaka)

The Rose and the Dagger (The Wrath and the Dawn #2)– Book Review

I feel like writing the review for this is a spoiler for the first…

ANYHOW. I have to; I feel like I literally can’t move on. God have mercy on our souls, seriously; for this is addiction and I’m afraid I don’t even want it to stop.

 

Just warning everyone now: This is a review for the sequel, so it naturally contains minor– or major, depending on you point of view– spoilers for the first book, so if you haven’t read the first, I don’t suggest that you ruin its beauty by spoiling yourself, really. It’s too precious. SO GO READ THE FIRST BOOK AND JOIN ME HERE LATER SO WE COULD SQUEAL TOGETHER!

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“Two stubborn lovers, protecting each other from the very same threat.”

Shahrzad’s land was no longer the way it has always been. The king she once believed was a monster was, in fact, a beautiful, tortured boy with a curse that chained him and his city. Her land had turned into a divided kingdom with people dying left and right, and with other people brewing up storms of their own inside. A war was approaching, and Shahrzad had to do everything in her power to prevent the destruction of those she loved and held dear.

Forced away from the arms of her husband, Shahrzad is whisked off back into the Sea of Sand, surrounded by her family and friends and yet knowing and feeling that she didn’t belong there in the desert anymore. Not when they were plotting the downfall of her husband. Not with so much hatred suffused in the air.

“Destiny was for fools. Sharzad would not wait for her life to happen. She would make it happen.”

With the help of the growing magic in her veins, she strikes out on her own to end both the terrible curse that had enveloped Khalid for years on and the brewing war once and for all. But staying alive in a desert filled with enemies was a much more challenging task than she thought.

This book is far more action-packed compared to the first, and we get to see so much character growth in such a small period of time that it’s truly magnificent. It is a story of survival, magic, war, power and the thin, veiled line, that distinguished love from hate.

“It was easy to be good and kind in times of plenty. The trying times were the moments that defined a man.
And love? Love was something that did much to change a person. It brought joy as it brought suffering, and in turn brought about those moments that defined one’s character. Love gave life to the lifeless. It was the greatest of all living powers.
But, as with all things, love had a dark side to it.”

And what about Shahrzad? Will she be able to feel Khalid’s arms again, or will risking everything to get back to her one true love end in tragedy?

I rooted for these characters in every turn of every page. The beauty of it all was that you never knew who was the villain. Who caused all that anguish. And sometimes, it’s not even a matter of who, it’s a question of what. Emotions truly control us, and even though they may be the greatest fuel we could ever hope for, they are sometimes our downfall too, if we allowed our emotions to blind us from what is right and wrong.

I personally don’t believe I have ever been this attached to a book (or  a duology) before. It was so magical, so tender, so breathtakingly wonderful that it left me all crumbled up and aching after I was done.

No, honestly, I’m still drying my tears.

I don’t normally reread, but this? I’d read it a thousand times over and still fall in love with it over and over again.

Have you stumbled upon The Wrath and the Dawn yet? Have you read it already? Loved it as much as I did? Tell me your thoughts below, I love hearing them!

Signed,

Midnight Ranter (aka Ayaka)

The Wrath and The Dawn– Book Review

Beautiful. Simply and utterly so. That’s about the only word that befits this masterpiece.

 

Hullo my lovely readers!

I come to you from faraway lands with yet another tale to tell. More like, one to rally.

 

“It’s inevitable. When you meet the one who makes you smile as you’ve never smiled before, cry as you’ve never cried before… there is nothing to do but fall.” 

 

In a blazing retelling of the known classic A Thousand and One Nights, Renée Ahdieh (bless her soul), brought to life a compelling story of what it means to love, lose yourself to it, and come to terms with the wars that surround you.

In a land bathed in sand, lies a boy-king that inflicts pain upon a new family with each passing dawn. Khalid Ibn al-Rashid, Caliph of Khorasan, the King of Kings, marries a girl each night, only to have her dead come the following dawn.

Such a heart-wrenching tragedy befalls sixteen-year-old Shahrzad, when her childhood best friend, Shiva, is chosen to marry the monstrous king and thus, die the following dawn. Seeking comfort in her sense for vengeance and revenge, Shahrzad volunteers to be the next bride, only that she also vows to live to see the morning sun that follows her wedding.

I will live to see tomorrow’s sunset. Make no mistake. I swear I will live to see as many sunsets as it takes.
And I will kill you.
With my own hands.”

Putting her plan into action, supplied with the sheer force of hatred she felt for the murderer who dared call himself king, Shahrzad beguiles him by narrating a tale woven by her entrancing abilities as a storyteller. Intrigued, Khalid listened as she built a world of wonders and possibilities in front of him, with words so carefully chosen and picked that they left no room for anything but bewitchment. Wickedly, however, she stopped midway with the threat of the rising sun, and when he demanded that she continues her tale, she promises that she would–

 

Only that she would do so the following night. If she was allowed another night.

 

And surprising both himself and her, Khalid agrees. Just one more night.

 

Shahrzad managed more than just that, though. Night and night again, she sat across him, narrating tales long left untold, ones built from her imaginations and other built from messages she wanted to convey. Slowly, however, something that she had definitely not taken into account happened: Khalid, the murderous, cold-blooded killer she had vowed to kill, didn’t seem as monstrous as she had always believed he was. The monster was just a boy. A boy with stories of his own. A tale cloaked in darkness. Incredibly, Shahrzad finds herself falling in love; not just with the mystery behind his fierce ember eyes, but with the words he spoke so carefully, with the actions he took so lovingly, and with every bit of the Caliph she had sworn she’d end. But how could she? Despite her beating heart, she knows that such feelings are nothing but a great betrayal and dishonour to her best friend. To the people she loved and held dear.

 

But what was Shahrzad to do, living with someone she cared for more than she could ever let on? She knew that the truth wasn’t as simple and clear as it seemed; she knew that there must’ve been something more to the story, and so, she resolves to uncover whatever secrets lurk and, despite her love, be ready to take Khalid’s life as retribution for the many lives he’s stolen. She’d have to face the mighty Caliph of Khorasan. The King of Kings. Her beautiful monster.

 

But here’s the question: would their love be greater than the hate? Can their love survive this world of stories and secrets?

 

 

God.. Only upon rereading this was I reminded as to why this wonderful novel became my ‘Favourite’. And believe me, this title has never been in my rankings. I’d talk about the author’s writing style, but in truth, it’s more of a painting style, really. It was utterly entrancing. Captivating. Intoxicating in a way that only made you drown and not want to resurface, for there was such beauty in ever fold of her pages that you just couldn’t leave the story behind. And her characters? They were a story on their own, and I assure you, you’d want to read this book for at least getting  a chance at a glimpse at Shahrzad’s thoughts; for a look into Khalid’s head and for just a taste of his words, for they truly ring in your mind long after you’ve closed the book.

 

“When I was a boy, my mother would tell me that one of the best things in life is the knowledge that our story isn’t over yet. Our story may have come to a close, but your story is still yet to be told. 
Make it a story worthy of you.”

 

Read it. Read it, read it, read it. And tell me what you thought of this beautiful story of hate, revenge, secrets, the love for power, and the power to love.

 

Yours truly,

Midnight Ranter (aka Ayaka)

 

PS. I wanted to vote for the Blogger Awards this year and had a draft at the ready and everything, only to realise that I didn’t know enough people in the community round here to properly vote. So maybe with the year to come, I’d be able to vote after knowing more people in this wonderful realm of words painted on screens.