books · discussions · shanti

A Guide to YA Symbols and Themes

Hi Virtual Readers! (how do you feel about this collective noun?) One of my favourite thing to notice about a book is themes and symbols that come up. Sometimes though, I’ll comment on someone else’s review and be like “I liked XYZ theme” and they’ll be like “Oh I never really noticed that”. This post doesn’t exist to make fun of those people. However: I’m going to talk about some themes I often see in YA so I can enlighten you all. *beams* *sprinkles pinch of salt.*  

symbols and themes


How to spot them: symbols are *English teacher voice* a thing in a novel that represents something more than what it is. If something is repeatedly brought up, perhaps in connection to a change or event or specific person, it may be a symbol. If you write about symbols in your review you’ll sound *that* much more knowledgeable and literary, so make up whatever if you can’t see any obvious symbol.  There are no right answers.

Blood: This symbol pops up ALL THE FREAKING TIME. (so you better get used to it). When it’s actual blood spilled it usually symbolises violence or a transition (to murderer, to power, something like that). When it’s blood as in ‘I am their blood relation’ it usually symbolises the bonds of family. Example: Tris feels that her blood bond with Caleb is important, Katniss is weirded out by how the blood on Presidents Snow’s breath represents the people he’s killed.

Swords: This pops up really often in fantasy. Swords tend to symbolise power, independence, and history. The wielder of a sword, especially a famous *magical* sword is usually a Chosen One, set to change the history of nations. Example: Garion(from the Belgarath) bears a magic powerful sword, as do Sabriel and Lirael.

Cars: This symbol is more common in contemporary and urban fantasy. Cars are like the boring version of swords: they also symbolise power, independence, perhaps a transition to being a high consuming, high-polluting adult. Cars can also symbolise journeys. You have to work harder to kill someone with a car compared to a sword. Example: the role of cars in the Raven Cycle.

Injuries: When a character has an injury or is somehow differently abled, it can symbolise them feeling powerless, or represent their role in society. (or it can just be representation. Yay representation!) Bringing up the injury or behaviour or whatever provides an instant, implicit reference to the event that caused the injury, which may be pivotal. Example: Kaz’s gloves and cane in Six of Crows are both symbols of his past.

Clothes: The clothes a character wears often represent something important about them, especially if the author sees fit to mention it. It may represent how they feel, how they want to be seen, how others see them… whatever. Changing clothes represent a change in the character. Examples: Celaena’s different outfits for being assassin and palace dweller, Katniss wearing different things on TV and at home, America’s outfits in the Selctions.


How to spot them: Themes are ideas that come up again and again in a text, whether explicitly or implicitly stated. It often relates to what’s happening in the story, e.g., if a family is a major part of a story and people talk about their families a lot, a theme might be family. Basically a theme is what the book is about that isn’t the plot or characters.

Family: This is a theme in a lot of contemporary YA and also fantasy (because court intrigue) and also sci-fi (just to spice things up). Okay, family is a common theme in YA because families are important to young people.  Family books tend to feature siblings and parents as major secondary characters. Examples: The Art of Not Breathing, Second Chance Summer, A Brief History of Montmaray, Magonia.

Violence: This theme is probably most common in sci-fi and fantasy books, though it can occur in the contemporary realm with more domestic violence. This theme often shows up when characters have participated in acts of violence, particularly murder, and are dealing with those repercussions. When done well, this theme can have awesome moral questions as a background. (I really like it when it’s done well). Examples: Daughter of Smoke and Bone, This Shattered World, Salt to the Sea.

The Price of Love: This is a really common YA theme. It features basically when a protagonist must choose between love, usually romantic love, and success, or affirmation, or peace between the kingdoms or something like that. This theme is just as common when replaced with the phrases ‘peace of mind’, ‘safety’, ‘truth’ etc. If the protagonist must choose, it’s probably this theme. Examples: Carry On, Half Bad, The Winners Curse, Shiver.

Forgiveness: This theme is also really interesting. If a crime has been committed, it’s probably this theme. Often the protagonist has to forgive themselves, but sometimes they have to forgive others, to build relationships and move on. It’s definitely common throughout the YA genre, no specific is more common imo. Examples: Divergent, The Magicians Guild, Heir of Fire, Saint Anything.

Sacrifice: This theme occurs when a character must put themselves, usually their lives, at risk for the greater good. The risk isn’t always physical; it can be the cost of telling the truth. It’s a good choice for everyone, but a hard choice for them. Have you ever seen that extremely sad film Most? If something like that is happening then sacrifice is probably a theme. Examples: The Amber Spyglass, The Night Circus, Under a Painted Sky, The Forbidden Wish, The Goblet of Fire.

~disclaimer: these are generalisations. I hope you found this interesting, even informative, but the best things about themes and symbols is that you can figure it out for yourself. ~

So did I catch some common symbols and themes? Do you have any to add? And tell me about an awesome book you read recently—I’m always up for recommendations, though my TBR won’t thank you.

book review

Lips Touch: Three fabulous stories

Laini Taylor is extremely awesome. I loved her writing in the Daughter of Smoke and Bone books and after one of my friends told me that this collection was awesome I got it from the library. And it was awesome. The writing was the best and the use of mythology was perfect, though the Indian setting gave me a few wince worthy moments of WRONG. Also, there are illustrations that were really cool and pretty.


Three tales of supernatural love, each pivoting on a kiss that is no mere kiss, but an action with profound consequences for the kissers’ souls:

Goblin Fruit
In Victorian times, goblin men had only to offer young girls sumptuous fruits to tempt them to sell their souls. But what does it take to tempt today’s savvy girls?

Spicy Little Curses
A demon and the ambassador to Hell tussle over the soul of a beautiful English girl in India. Matters become complicated when she falls in love and decides to test her curse.

Six days before Esme’s fourteenth birthday, her left eye turns from brown to blue. She little suspects what the change heralds, but her small safe life begins to unravel at once. What does the beautiful, fanged man want with her, and how is her fate connected to a mysterious race of demons?

Story 1: Goblin Fruit
This was probably my least favourite story, to be honest. I didn’t really like Kizzy. I know that short stories aren’t meant to be about character development, really, but she just irritated me. And with her family and history, it could have gone so much more in depth. But I still loved the concept, and I think that the introduction worked really well with the story she told. And of course the writing was beautiful, which made me happy.
Story 2: Spicy Little Curses Such as These.
I think Taylor didn’t quite use the Hindu idea of Hell as I understand it (and I’ve lived in India for nine years)- I see the Indian place of hell as more like where demons hang out (not necessarily Yama though) and if you are bad, you’re reincarnated in a lower body or caste. And when it said that Anamique knew all the names of the Hindu gods- well, that’s impossible. Still, though, the story was awesome. I adore the British Raj (at least the history, if not the policies it enacted) and I loved the sense of place in the tale. The concept was a unique one, and the way she contrasted the two kisses was excellent. There was also the idea of the power of silence, which is really interesting, and added to Anamique’s character. And of course Estelle & her cohort were very fun to read about.
Story/ Novella 3: Hatchling
I can say quite safely that this was the most bizarre story. It was really well written though. The characters developed quite a lot more, and the idea of Queens and wolfs and speaking magic and the trust of transformation were amazing. It was shocking, but beautiful. And the image of patchwork compassion from a patchwork soul stayed with me. It does go into quite a bit of backstory, and that’s awkward, like it was in DoSaB . Still, I thought the characters were really interesting to read about, and I appreciated the way that Esme began to see herself, and Mab’s fierce motherhood, and the delightful creepiness, and the themes of compassion and humility. I also loved the language- that smattering of words added such power to the story.
The Kisses
The kisses are really the uniting feature of this collection, and if you read the introductions on their own they word really well together. The epigraph-souls meet on lovers lips- is a really interesting idea that’s explored, and the emotional as well as spiritual/magical element of kisses is an interesting thing to consider. Of course, the plot of each story hangs on a kiss-but each tale offers more than that too, which I love.

Do you ever read shorter fiction? Are you in love with Laini Taylors writing? Are you going to read this? Tell me in the comments!


Stacking the Shelves(3) boooks

Hi everyone! I’m interrupting Shar’s week for a Stacking the Shelves. There are 6 books I have acquired in the past month or so and it’s exciting… But first you get a million pictures because they’re so beautiful. (we’re linking up with the meme Stacking the Shelves, hosted by Tynga’s reviews’s for this, because we can)- Shanti


See, aren’t they pretty *heart eyes* I’ve already  read Winter (of course) and it WAS SO GOOD. There will probably be a review at some point, and shar wrote a review as well. The reason I got all these books was because my dad was in the US where books and shipping is cheaper, and he was willing to act as a mail carrier (and financier of book buying in, to be honest-thank you parents)

Winter: It just came out (like three weeks ago) is awesome and will break your feels and take you a long time to read and of course I HAD TO HAVE IT and it’s worth it.

The Weight of Feathers: I’ve heard a lot about this one and it sounds awesome and lyrical and sad and magical realism (basically all the things I like)

Out of the Easy: Because Anna told me it was fabulous. Also history. Also cover.

The Game of Love and Death: Historical with planes and personified love and death and history? YES YES YES. (also, Cait’s review convinced me)

Like Smoke: The author came to our school and did a reading. I hadn’t actually liked another one of her books, but her reading was amazing and convinced me forever. ( and it’s signed. yay!) this is a short story collection.

Fire: My friend who lives in Sweden gave this to me (thank you so much!), (and she gave me the first book a few years ago) It’s a really interesting, real series about teen witches facing down evil. Plus, the covers are awesome. I’m really excited to read it

In other news: We have two weeks of school left. This means craziness. I have to write a 6-10 page research paper by Thursday, there is a lot of studying to do, so much Calculus (such mixed feelings on this class. I hate it mostly but there are times when I love it) and lots of other homework. The drama is happening this week at school, and since I’m doing costumes, I’ve had to be at school until 9 or 9 30 every single night (to wash *fake* bloodstains out of dresses) last weekend we went on a fun but exhausting field trip to Delhi, there a music concerts coming up , I’ve barely had time to read and to top it all off I have a horrible cold. But the holidays are coming! There is hope. I’m really looking forward to leaving and seeing my cousins and summer (the best thing about air travel tbh- it can take you to another season) So my life is busy. But at least I have books to read. Also I discovered Captain America fanvids and my life is complete (the Civil War trailer was so… *weeps at characters fighting*)

Have you read any of these books? What did you think? Is your life as crazy as mine right now? Tell me what the best thing that happened in the last month was in the comments 🙂


The Abba Book Tag

You know what two really great things are? Blog tags and books. Do you know another really great thing? ABBA. Using this genius equation of funthing+ greatthing+awesome thing, I have decided to make an ABBA book tag. Now, I know that ABBA does not have the most meaningful lyrics in the world, but they are a lot of fun. If you don’t know what ABBA is listen to this and this, and be enlightened. And then you should do this really awesome, crazy fun tag.

abbabooksTag Rules

  1. Use this image (or not, but ideally use this one because it’s sort of pretty)
  2. If you haven’t listened to ABBA before, go do that before you begin.
  3. Link to the person who tagged you.
  4. Find books that match the categories.
  5. Tag some other people
  6. Have fun.

If you want to add other ABBA songs/lyrics and make more categories, you can do that too, and it will be awesome.

Take a Chance on Me (a book you unexpectedly liked)

I really liked Atonement, a book I had to read for school, which surprised me, but it turned out to be very interesting, and excellently written, even though some of the subject matter was awkward.

The Winner Takes it All (An overhyped book)

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard. I haven’t read it yet, though I’d like to at one point, but there are a lot of opinions and news about it going around.

Waterloo (An amazing historical fiction book)

I’m not sure if this counts, because I’m currently reading it, but Walk On Earth A Stranger is set during the California Gold Rush, and is amazing from what I’ve listened too (audiobook) so far. Also the cover is really amazing, which helps.

You’re Only A Child (a recently published book)

I just got Six of Crows on my kobo, and it was published last week. I adored the Grisha trilogy, so I’m really excited for this one, and I’m going to read it over the next week while I’m away.

I Have A Dream (a favourite, ‘ideal’ book)

You guys are probably sick of hearing this, but Sabriel A Brief History of Montmaray Chanda’s Secrets The Dream Thieves (I know, I’m shaking it up) is a really amazing book.

Dancing Queen (A book with royalty)

So many books have royalty! But for this category, I’m going with an epic fantasy: Snow Like Ashes. The sequel is coming out next week, and I’m really excited. I reviewed this last year, and the royalty element was done so well (also, Team Theron)

Money, Money Money (a book you’re willing to pay lots for, because it’s awesome)

Winter by Marissa Meyer. Actually, Shar is awesome, and she got me a preorder for my birthday last week, but I would still pay lots for it, because I’m really excited about it.

Lay All Your Love on Me (a book that needs more attention)

This is a sort of hard question (and I wrote it, so…), because many of the books I read come from me finding them, because they’ve been getting attention. Still, though, Brown Girl in the Ring is excellent speculative fiction with Caribbean culture. Go read it!

Here We Go Again ( a book that seemed to copy another book)

I hate it when plots are recycled (and lets face it, that is what the new twilight book is) But another book that copies a lot of plot is Better Than Perfect- it fell for every high-school contemporary stereotype you could think of (parties, secret talents, cheating on your boyfriend, instalove), and it just felt like a mashup. It was trying to be about messy real life, but just annoyed me in the end.

S.O.S. (A book that should get in trouble and NOT be rescued)

There is only one book that I’ve really hated this year, and that is Love in the Time of Global Warming. It did not work for me at all.

Knowing Me, Knowing You (a book you know a lot about for whatever reason)

This is actually a series: Harry Potter. I think I’ve grown out of Harry Potter to some extent, but I still really like it, and I know a lot about it, because I’ve reread the books so many times.

I tag

Cait@ Paper Fury

Heather@ Sometimes I”m a Story

Alyssa@ The Devil Orders Takeout

Jessica@ Bookish Serendipity

Beth@The Quiet People

Opal@ Opal Swirls

Nirvana@Quenching The Quill

Engie@ Musings from Neville’s Navel

Precious@Clockwork Desires

Emily@Loony Literate

Ella@Once Upon A Bookish Time

No pressure, but it’d be awesome if you participated. And anyone else is absolutely welcome to participate, leave a link to your post in the comments and I’ll come and read it. 🙂

So, do you like ABBA? Are you going to do this tag? answer your two favourite categories in the comments!

book review

Mini Reviews for some more books

I have been reading quite as much recently, thanks to school. Regardless, I still have thoughts about books, even if I don’t review them fully. So here we have Go Set A Watchman, The Rest of Us Just Live Here, Wither, and One. As always, covers link to Goodreads. So, Mini Reviews!


                                              The Rest of Us Just Live Here, by Patrick Ness (four stars)

I really liked this! I just loved the characters and the way they weren’t important, but there was beauty in the ordinariness. I also loved how the relationships between the characters worked, mostly. Also The family aspects were perfect. I also liked that ordinary kids knew they were smart, because that s a thing. I had just a few complaints: it was sort of plotless. It stretched out. and the themes of friendship, and family, but it needed a little more plot I think. I felt like Patrick Ness tried to write the perfect not Chosen One, diverse, friendship box, but I felt like maybe he tried a bit too hard to tick all the right boxes. I also didn’t like Henna and Mikey’s relationship very much, and I didn’t feel like that was healthy for either of them, though I could see why it was there. I really enjoyed it though! And this quote:

“Kindness is the most important thing of all. Pity is an insult. Kindness is a miracle”

Go Set a Watchman, by Harper Lee (four stars)

There is a word for when you keep on loving people after you know terrible things about them. It might be called grace. It might be called forgiveness. It might be called compassion or acceptance or understanding.
It is this concept that Go Set a Watchman deals with. It talks about peoples unwillingness to accept change, the destruction of our “tin gods” and the knowledge that family doesn’t mean they are the same as you. As Jean Louise comes to the terrible realisation that her morals and her fathers have diverged, she has to accept that. She has to know that it is possible to keep on loving him. I totally appreciated seeing the characters in this new way- it makes sense in the TKaM context, though it would have worked just as well with different character names. It isn’t To Kill a Mockingbird version one, or To Kill a Mockingbird number two. It is something else entirely. I struggled at times with the internal dialogue- it was awkward in places, testing the waters but not committing to them. I loved the way that the snippets of conversation worked, though. Everyone is going on an an about how “Atticus is racist” -an in a way, he is. But that change is chronicled, and I think that in the end it’s consistent with the Atticus we see in TKaM. And maybe change and empowerment should be gradual, but as Jean Louise pints out, it ultimately needs to be humanifying (rather than say, ethnicityfying) And while I appreciated the honest when she said that she wouldn’t marry a black person, it irritated me a lot, because if my parents had had the same thoughts about Indians and Pakeha New Zealanders I probably wouldn’t be around. And being around is sort of important to me. The first half of Go Set a Watchman was sort of unnecessary setting the scene, and I don’t really think that Hank needed to be there (he didn’t really achieve anything, but was an interesting character) But overall I loved the themes developed in this book and the characters and the brutal honesty.
*I’m reviewing this entirely outside the publishing controversy, because that is a different issue entirely and I still liked this book*

Wither, by Lauren DeStefano (four stars)

As always, Lauren De Stefano’s writing is beautiful and a delight to read. I loved Rhine’s story, and found the elements that developed with the sister wives and the attendants and the entire premise amazing. All of the characters are very well developed. And Linden is a fascinating pseudo villain, while Vaughn scares the heck out of me.
The only problem I had was 1) with the love triangle. It hasn’t really developed, and Rhine was aware of that, but I feel like a friendship with the (no spoilers) other person would have been sufficient plot impetuous, and there wasn’t much chemistry in my opinion. 2) this is a tiny thing… but how was Rhine so used to luxury? we get a distinct impression that it wasn’t easy in Manhattan and she lived in the basement and saw people killed. Yet she doesn’t remark on the luxury and how that money could be better spent at all. With some protagonists (like Katniss) it can get grating, but she didn’t seem to think about it much. And I felt that her all consuming hate for being a wife could have been conveyed better.

One by Sarah Crossan (3.5 stars)
This book was really interesting. I’m a fraternal twin, so it did feel particularly relevant to me in terms of the quest for identity, and it’s lovely and short. I liked the story, though the plot wasn’t really fleshed out- I knew that ending would be coming and as for all the school factors… But I did like how it was brutally honest and quite diverse. Sure, I wouldn’t make some of the choices that Grace and Tippi did, but I appreciated that the reasons behind that was shown effectively) Conjoined twins are the stuff of sensationalist stories, and I’ve never met two/one (obviously) but I liked the One examined that aspect. And I like that The Media weren’t demons like they are in a lot of contemporary YA around these stories (I do edit a newspaper and take a Media Studies class so…)I really liked the themes in this book as well, and how it examined the relationships between characters (especially sisters), the idea of normal, the theme of identity and individuality, and the idea of looking beyond the physical.I think that because of the free verse and also because of the brevity, some opportunities for plot and character developments were missed out on, but overall, it was an interesting story about the relationships between sisters and the implications of single choice.
Have you read any of these? What’s more important to you: the themes or the values of a book? How would you cope with sudden luxury? tell me in the comments!

book review

Review: Graceling

By Shar

Title: Graceling


Author: Kristin Cashore

Themes: love, rebellion, power, friendship

Genre: YA fantasy

My Blurb: Some people in the world are born as Gracelings, meaning they are incredible skilled at something as mundane as swimming to mind reading. Katsa is the king’s niece and a Graceling. But that’s not all: her Grace is killing, and she’s forced to be the king’s skillful thug, who and threatens any lords who misbehave. When Katsa meets Prince Po in a dark courtyard in another kingdom, things change. Can Katsa learn that she’s more that a brutal, terrifying tool?

This book was truly excellent. Even though Shanti forced me to suggested I read this a while ago, I was rather put off by the blurb.

Firstly, I’ll discuss the characters. Katsa was very round, not just good or evil. Her background was an intricate tapestry; the palace she’d grown up in, everybody’s fear of her, her few friends (although she wouldn’t have called them such) like Raffin, her cousin, Helda, her maid, and Oll, the spymaster. Each of these secondary characters were just as round and fascinating as the MC, even if they didn’t change much over the novel’s course.

Katsa was easy to connect to, even though (obviously) I don’t have a green and blue eye, I’m not great at killing people, and I’ve never been inside a castle. Prince Po was also a great character; he was brilliant and funny, but secrets of his own and various conflicts made him really develop and intrigue the reader. His Grace of fighting totally matched Katsa, and the way the help each and work together was felt natural and wonderful.

The bad guy (read it to find out who he is) is also interesting, although he did seem to mostly be the bad guy, and not very round. Other secondary characters like Bitterblue and Skye were well developed and enjoyable too too.

What about the setting? Set in a ‘world’ with 7 kingdoms and 7 unpredictable kings, each pursuing various selfish goals, this was also entirely engrossing. I felt the world building was interesting without infodumping, and the characters all fit right in. We didn’t find out about all the kingdoms, but Monsea, Lienid, Middluns, and Sunder (the kingdom names weren’t to creative: middluns=middle kingdom, sunder=south, Wester=west, etc.) each had a different culture. I liked the medieval feel and the lack of magic (with the exception of Gracelings). The forests, mountains, and travelers inns all, again, created a beautiful background for the characters to go running (and riding! Yay horses!) around on.

The plot was good, not all surprising, but sound. The ratio of action: dialogue: politicalness: survival (I was reminded of Bear Grylls) balanced well, so I was never bored, but never like ‘if they get in another fight I’m going to throw this book out the window’. There were a few twists and surprises, and quite a few scences where I just couldn’t put it down.

However, the romance annoyed me a little. I mean, I think they suited each other, but they would have been great best friends, and once they made their decisions, they moved very fast, which didn’t exactly fit Katsa’s character, I thought. But then they were kind of adorable.

In terms of general enjoyableness and being well written, Graceling passed everything. I really liked it a lot.

So, today I decided that using only 5 stars is overrated. And because I’m a special snowflake, each of these ratings is out of 6. Because why not?

Plot: 5/6 stars

Premise: 5/6

Setting: 6/6 stars

Characters: 5/6 stars

Style: 5/6 stars

Total: 6/6 stars. Yay!

Have you read Graceling? What are your favourite fantasy books? Do you like this style? What are you reading? (I need suggestions here, guys)

not books

Blogging Community Tag

Heather tagged me for this months ago. Thanks, Heather! But here I am, finally getting around to it! And just a quick heads up: Shar and I have been talking, and changes are in the works. It’s exciting! But you’ll hear more about those later. Anyway, on with celebrating other bloggers awesomeness! -Shanti


*link back to Jo@The Bearable Blog

*Use the picture

*Answer the questions

*tag who you want

-Dedicated Bloggers-

Emily@Loony Literate posts several times a week, writes excellent reviews and discussions and is otherwise awesome

Heather@Sometimes I’m a Story also posts regularly and her post are awesome! So thought provoking and funny and amazing 🙂

-Book Reviewers and Bloggers-

I mostly read book blogs so this isn’t hard.

I love the discussions at The Midnight Garden, even though I don’t read the reviews as much

Nirvana@Quenching the Quill also does amazing fangirling reviews and discussions and is generally an amazing blogger.

-Deep and Thoughtful Bloggers-

(and yes, the capital letters are appropriate)

I’m going to steal from Heather here and say Opal@Opal Swirls– her writing is beautiful and she talks about some really deep & important things

I also love what Amy@ Every Word You Say writes- it’s well thought out, can be funny, but acknowledges issues that anyone can deal with.

-Bloggers with Beautiful Designs-

So as you all may know, Shar and I suck at design. But Beth@The Quiet People has a perfect minimalist look going for her (and amazing pictures) and I also love the layout/set-up of YA Midnight Reads.

-Enjoyable and Awesome Bloggers-

This is hard  because I enjoy reading and I don’t read blogs I won’t like. Everyone is enjoyable and awesome! But Kara@Diary of a Teen Writer has really interesting and fun posts every time. Plus, her pictures are amazing.

Also, Engie@Musings From Neville’s Navel has hilarious and amazing and has excellent posts about practically everything, and I love reading her blog.

-Funny Bloggers-

I already mentioned several funny blogs. Buuuut Alyssa@The Devil Orders Takeout has completely hilarious and insightful posts. But she’s not just humour- I love what she does for Chinese Culture and when she talks about writing 🙂

I know that Epic Reads is run by HarperCollins, but some of the posts there are excellent. And they also crack me up.

-Inspiring Bloggers-

Cait@Paper Fury (who just got an amazing new design- go stare at it) inspires me. She is an almost perfect mix of humour, fangirling, books and awesomeness. It would do you well to get on her  good side, for she is going to be ruler of the world one day.

Miriam@Miriam Joy Writes talks about thoughtful things and writing and is awesome. She makes me want to be a better blogger. Go stalk her.

I tag…

Nevillegirl@Musings From Neville’s Navel

Nirvana@Quenching the Quill

Ella@Once Upon a Bookish Time

Precious@Clockwork Desires

and anyone else who wants to share the love!

I’m all out of blog names. But all these people are awesome. Share some of your favourite blogs/bloggers in the comments!

not books · Uncategorized

It’s a Blogoversary !(lets celebrate)

You guessed right from the title. Weaving Waves Words is turning one! We are extremely excited and so today there is a survey and a look at stats and a giveaway and a look into the future and lots and lots of gratitude. Thank you so much for being part of this entire experience. Also it’s India and South Korea’s birthday, so shout out to people who celebrate that!


Stats (rounded, for the curious)

  • six thousand total page views (US, UK, India, Australia, New Zealand and others)
  • one thousand three hundred amazing visitors (That is a lot of people. I don’t know if I know that many people.)
  • 85 extremely excellent followers (you guys all rock. )
  • 400 comments (woah, like what?)
  • Over 100 posts (okay, this one was actually our accomplishment. Not so bad, no?)

Thanks to

  • Our parents/family who don’t really mind when Shanti yells “I’ll come for dinner once I finish this book review” and help us deal with library dilemmas (look, it’s a real thing) Also supplying e readers.
  • Our in-real-life friends who subscribed and fangirled and were otherwise awesome in every way (you know who you are <3)
  • Our subscribers, for commenting and reading, and otherwise making everything awesome
  • All the other bloggers who are so supportive and tag us and make us feel welcome 🙂
  • anyone who made us love books, because you are the reason for all of this.


In the future

  • There might be a name change and/or some design change, since we’re not great fans of the name. However, we are not exactly experts at blog design things so it probably won’t be too drastic.
  • We’re going to change the theme at some point
  • We are pretty busy with school, but we’ll still be posting regularly, and doing our best to comment on your wonderful posts.
  • Shanti’s going to get twitter….when she’s not super busy, so I can procrastinate more.

What have we learned?

When we started blogging, we had about zero clue about what we wanted to do with it. Our English teacher and a few other people had kind of encouraged us, and we’d wanted to for about 6 months before we actually started. We had originally intended to do a lot more about writing and share our writing as well as some book reviews and random things (which you’ll find buried in our archives). But we had no idea that the world of book and writing blogging existed, and to be honest, I’m surprised we got any views at all. One fateful day, Shanti was scrolling through Marissa Meyer’s Twitter a few months after we’d started blogging. We discovered Bookish Serendipity, and Paper Fury, and, well, the rest was history.

We’ve learned to write relevant posts, to reply to comments and try to comment back, about all the wonderful people who exist on the internet (and really, if you’re reading this, you are one of them). We’ve been introduced to amazing new books and ideas and best of all, people (like I said before, if you’re reading this you are one)

Survey of interesting (with some basic feedback questions)

Amazing blogs we’ve discovered (and there are a lot more too, these are just a few. We have bad memories, okay?) Paper Fury, Loony Literate, Once Upon a Bookish Time, the Quiet People, Sometimes I’m a Story, The Devil Orders Takeout, Opal Swirls, Quenching the Quill and Diary of a Teen Writer.

And last of all, we were wondering about a new name for you readers.

So THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU to all the people who have been so amazing as we’ve learned about blogging. You’re the best, we can’t say this enough. We have loved this first year of blogging, there is no way we’re going to stop anytime soon, and YAY! *throws confetti!*


A Question of Fiction: Beka Cooper

I’m a diehard fan of Tamora Pierce (yes, I know it’s hard to tell) so I was delighted when Beka Cooper agreed to appear on a Question of Fiction. To find out more about her, click to read my review for book 1, book 2 and book 3 of her chronicles. (warning: these reviews are mostly fangirling and I was so happy when I wrote them that consequently there are a LOT of mistakes) -Shanti


Interviewer: Hi there Beka! Welcome to a Question of Fiction. Could you start us off with sharing a favourite childhood memory?

Beka: I , I um, had a rr-ough childhood in the slums. But there was one time when my mother had enough money to buy a cake for my little brothers birthday. We savoured, ee-every bite of that cake. And we were all o happy that day. This was before we left the slums and got tt-aken in by my lord Provost.

Interviewer: Don’t be shy, Beka. You’re among friends.

Beka: I know. I jj-just get nervous. *breathes deeply*

Interviewer: Why did you want to become a Dog? And work at one of the hardest stations, no less?

Beka: Well, I’m good at being a Dog. And all the times when I was young and I couldn’t protect my siblings from hunger or the dirt and misery around them- I want to be able to protect someone, you know. I-I can deal with the fear. I want the children of the Lower City to be safe. I’m going to get hurt, but it’s something worth getting hurt for.

Interviewer: What is one of your proudest moments?

Beka: Graduating and becoming a full Dog.

Interviewer: When you feel afraid or nervous or unsure, who do you turn to?

Beka: Either Tunstall or Goodwin, my partners, because they know me better than I know myself, or Rosto and Aniki, who are some of my best friends. We may be from different sides of the law, but that doesn’t stop our relationship from being an anchor to me.

Interviewer: Where do you feel safest?

Beka: I’m a Dog. I’m never fully safe. I might be attacked doing my nightly rounds, but more than that I could be knocked unconscious outside my door. I always have to be aware. Good for the Dog sensors.

Interviewer: Constant Vigilance! I see. You’ve got some animal friends as well. Do they help or hinder you in your Dog duties?

Beka: Well, Achoo is always a help. She’s the best scent hound ever. She does need a lot of food and when she’s around I spend more time in ss-sewers and with dirty underpants than I’d like- but she always will find whoever we need to find. Pounce though- Pounce is esoteric. He walks by himself. But he is very comforting and at least I don’t really need to feed him. *sigh* I can put up with the pigeons. And I liked the dust eddies, they always have some interesting gossip to pass on, but I don’t think I’d call them animals…

Interviewer: Whirlwinds belong in a category of their own. So, what is the best thing about being a Dog?

Beka: Well, we get a lot of hate sometimes. But when we’re in favour I have to say that stopping at the bakery and getting free samples is excellent. And I love my days off, when I can stride around the city with the confidence of a Dog, b-but no responsibilities. It is hard living in the Lower City, and it means that I don’t really know my siblings, sadly. But me and Farmer…

Interviewer: Who’s Farmer?

Beka: *blushes* Oh, j-just my mage friend.

Interviewer: Would you like to be nobility? You’ve had to deal with them quite a bit on various missions, what do you think?

Beka: I do honest work. I wear ordinary clothes. I’m happy like that. There are advantages to being nobility- if you have something to say, you will be heard- but I like who I am. And it’s the important people who make important decisions. I’m nn-not sure that I could deal with that kind of pressure. So I’m quite happy as I am. And being a noble would probably mean that I had to deal with even more bigoted nobles than I already do.

Interviewer: What is one thing that you would change about Tortall if you could?

Beka: Slavery. There are children stolen and peoples lives are destroyed. Surely a country like Tortall can pay for peoples wages and not their lives? We can’t own other people. Th-That’s just wrong.

Interviewer: absolutely. So, to finish off, could you tell me what your favourite time of day is?

Beka: Midmorning. I spend it in the city I love talking to my friends- whether bird or whirlwind or human or dog, and there is sunshine and occasionally excitement. It is that feeling of a day doing what you love. It makes me so happy.

Interviewer: Thanks so much for appearing on A Question of Fiction, Beka. We’ve loved having you here!


How to recreate a book cover (a HANDy tutorial)

Hi there everyone! I recently read the really interesting book 5 to 1 by Holly Bodger. You can read my review here, but I really liked the cover and interior designs which are based on mehendi, or henna. So this post is a tutorial on how to recreate a book cover on your hands. I enlisted the help of my friend Elisabeth, who is a phenomenal artist and my friend Julia, who is a very patient model, to help was this. All I did was take photos.


Step One: Get some henna/mehendi. I have no idea where to find this in the West. Maybe try an ethnic Indian shop or specialty craft store? You can get henna as powder but for decorating-hand purposes, it’s much nicer in a cone.


Step two: Get the main part of the design. In this case, the fish. Elisabeth drew the fish first so she had an outline to work with and then filled in the details


Step Three. Fill in the details. We only did one hand, so we didn’t have the symmetry thing going for the ‘phscedelic fish’ as Julia named them, and Elisabeth wants me to say that “If she had done the faces, they would look like potatoes”. We kind of improvised with the design, is what I’m saying. It still looks awesome in my opinion. If you want to do the simplified version, You can stop here, otherwise you can keep going.DSC02741Step Four: This is the easy part where detail is vital. Elisabeth just drew the circles with dots over and over, filling in Julia’s hand.DSC02769Step Five: You now have (half) a book cover painted on your hand! While you wait for it to dry, go and take pictures.

It's surprisingly good camoflage
It’s surprisingly good camoflage

Step Six. This is the hard part. You have to wait for the henna to dry. For the full design it took almost two hours. Once it’s dry enough you should be able to pick it off with your nails, but it the meantime you can’t use your hands.

henna six

Step Seven: Enjoy your beautiful book-coveresque henna

so beautiful!
so beautiful!

Thanks to Julia and Elisabeth for doing all the work helping out. Have you ever had henna done? Are you going to now? And have you read 5 to 1? Tell me in the comments!