Book Review: The Black Key – Amy Ewing

Seriously why did I delay so long to write up this review? I WAS SUPPOSED TO DO IT 500 YEARS AGO.


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Name: The Black Key
Author: Amy Ewing
Publisher: Walker Books (US Ver: HarperTeen)
Release Date: October 4, 2016

Synopsis

The third book in Amy Ewing’s New York Times bestselling Lone City trilogy, The Black Key is perfect for fans of The Selection and Red Queen.

Violet and the Society of the Black Key are preparing to launch an attack on the royalty, and Violet has a crucial role to play. She must lead the surrogates as they infiltrate the Auction and break down the walls of the Lone City. But with her sister, Hazel, imprisoned in the palace of the Lake, Violet is torn. In order to save her sister, she must abandon her cause and her friends and return to the Jewel.


Book Cover Comments

 

Note that there are two versions of the book, the HarperTeen ver and the Walker Books Ver.

HarperTeen Ver. (check it out on goodreads) I seriously think the book cover is super duper gorgeous. The white dress in contrast with the black kaleidoscope jewel was just gorgeous, and this is definitely my favourite cover in the entire series. And because of that, it’s seriously making me wanna buy the US hardcovers of the series.

Walker Books Ver.: It’s super duper different from the first two books, as their base color was white, and this base color is black, so when you put the three together, it isn’t the best combo. Maybe a three book gradient would help next time. BUT the gold words stand out so well among the black, and I love how Violet is wearing a purple dress, the BG girls seem a bit meh, and.. Violet’s face is kinda creepy.. soooooo… favourite cover goes to Book 1.


The Actual Review

Ok. I’ve been waiting for this book for 8 months, and I finally have it in my hands and read it.

Note that if you’re reading this, it’s kinda spoilery for book 1 and 2, so go find their reviews in my review page, or go search up Lone City Series/Amy Ewing. The other reviews are tagged with em’ :)

In this book, other than the fact that Violet has to face her old enemy and find a way out of everything, I think it’s kind of a realisation for Violet, because up till now, she’s kind of taking a lot of responsibility and being in charge of everything, and Violet now grows up for the third time in this book, taking that into consideration, and letting some things go and let them also help her along the way.

It really reminds me of this quote from xxxHOLiC (my favourite anime that’s filled with 500 billion morals)

“If a person sacrifices himself to save another, then that person should know just what kind of scars that action leaves on the rescued person.”

YUUUKOOOO *fangirling and sobbing at the same time*

Not that I’m implying that there is a huge sacrifice going on in here.

And so as the synopsis says, Violet travels back to the Jewel no longer as a surrogate, but as someone really different. I see it as viewing the Jewel from a different social class: instead of a surrogate, this time it is from a lower social class, and it was really interesting to see how some parts progressed. And OMG there were so many sudden plot twist/hits that I went Oh. My. God. No. What.

Fun thing about the relationships in this book, is that everyone is somehow related to each other (not like aunts uncles companions) in the way of their belief and their actions, as well as what they like and hate, but does not know the third person (as in, A hates royalty – knows B hates royalty, C hates royalty – knows B hates royalty, but A doesn’t know C hates royalty, vice versa), and reading this book, you’ll get to see who.

You’ll see this girl in this book thats really interesting, even though she’s not a major character or anything. I’m kinda over analysing this, but this girl is the one that represents the ignorance of what happens in the outside world of modern society/The island itself, as well as the fact that innocence is what hides all of this. Too deep? Yea. Probably. Let’s go back to my shallow commentary.

The ultimate climaxes in this book was really over the top. You would actually never see that final ending of what happened in the Jewel coming. But yes. Finally. What I’ve been hoping for, buttttt brought in a different way.

And then how that ending went omg. It was really beautiful when that conclusion came along. I saw what the characters saw, and I just felt a moment of peace, zen in my mind, and I just smiled after finishing that last line and putting down that book, looking to the sunset outside of my window. Beautiful ending. Such a beautiful ending.

And OMG the ultimate ship in this book: Violet and Ash. I seriously need more of them having private time to xoxo. Because I’m not having enough of that. Amy please write a bonus short story for Violet and Ash going out on a date. Plz make that happen XD


 

And so, the Lone City trilogy was wrapped up extremely well. Growing characters, letting it go, final blows, decisions, sacrifices, protecting those important to you, bringing equality to the society, and that beautiful calming ending, the calm waters after a storm.

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Manga Series Review: Tsubasa RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE – CLAMP

Since I love manga, why not also add a manga section to this book blog?


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The cover for the 1st volume of the Omnibus editions

 

Name: Tsubasa RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE
Author: CLAMP
Publisher: Kodansha Comics
Original Release Date: May 2003 – October 2009
Omnibus Release Date: August 2015 – October 2016
Number of Volumes:

Original: 28
Omnibus: 10


Synopsis

Childhood friends Princess Sakura and Syaoran, the son of an archaeologist, become entangled in a series of events that force them to traverse through alternate realities on an action-packed and unforgettable adventure!  In the Kingdom of Clow, an archaeological dig unleashes an incredible power, causing Sakura to lose her memories. To save her, Syaoran must follow the orders of the Dimension Witch and travel alongside Kurogane, an unrivaled warrior; Fai, a powerful magician; and Mokona Modoki, a curiously strange creature, to retrieve Sakura’s dispersed memories! But first, there is a price to be paid…


Review

One of the best manga series ever, Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicles is the absolute most intriguing series ever. Going into every character, their roles in the series and the meaning behind each and every one of their existence, going into their deepest memories, surfacing them, and seeing how they play a role in the story.

The strong desire of one’s power, and it’s ability to alter space and time, and it is that strong desire that keeps our protagonists moving forward, so that time in the story might unloop itself, and everyone could find a way out.

Filled with complicated time loops, universes, dimensions and paradox, this book is the absolute personification of complex time traveling, and the concept of the different dimensions was extremely cool and magnificent.

Along with the fact that it is the sister series to xxxHOLiC, it makes this series even more interesting to read, so that one could understand more about what is going on in xxxHOLiC, as it is one of many worlds in the Tsubasa Universe.

CLAMP is definitely the best manga circle on Earth, even if Dragon Ball or Naruto seems to beat them in animation and sales, because the depth that they go into: human nature, desire, that one taboo that no one could ever reach, how everything is the inevitable: human morals and philosophy: this series is one of those book series, manga or not, that shaped me into who I am today, and I am so glad to be able to have the complete omnibus series in my hands.

Halloween Fun

So I’m not really reading anything right now, so why not make a fun post for ya’ll to see and comment below!

Image result for club penguin pumpkin

So you guys would know that I am a huuuggeee fan of Sarah J. Maas. And I thought, why not dress up my Club Penguin penguin as the characters?

Then I thought: what about invent a Throne Of Glass Halloween Soup for you guys to try and make?


Throne Of Glass Halloween Stew Recipe

You will need:

  • 30L of Adarlan sewer water
    • Adarlanian sewer water includes rich minerals. Mostly minerals from dead bodies and the silver lake, but who cares.
  • Pine tree leaves from Terrasen
    • High amount of Vitamin A, good for eyesight, hair and skin regeneration, improves red blood cell production.
    • High amount of Vitamin C, 5 times that of a lemon.
    • Check out this website for the other benefits of pine needles.
  • 1/2 cups of salt from Endovier
    • Includes rich minerals and tons of stuff that’ll help you with your body
  • 10 grams of Spidersilk
    • Strengthens muscles and tissues in case of injury
  • 1L of valg blood (prince blood for better flavouring)
    • Valg blood is rich in dark magic, and therefore will grant you immunity to the valg’s controls, though this statement has not been tested.
  • 10 grams of Ironteeth nails
    • 1 gram for an extended life span of one year. Too much and you will be seen as greedy and your life span will deduct by the number of nails put into the stew.
  • Shreds of Crochan cloak (colouring)
    • The more Crochan cloak you put in, the redder and more wine color like the stew becomes.
  • 1 cup of Stone Marsh mud
    • Absorbs toxins from your body, and makes your skin smoother than ever.
  • 1 cup of fresh snow from the Ferian Gap
    • Fresh snow bathed in the sun, rich with minerals from the sky and wyvern traces.
  • 2 cups of sand from the Red Desert
    • Heavily oxidised, increases your oxygen capacity.
  • Optional amount of flavouring, such as sugar, icing, sweets, whatsoever. Vanilla, chocolate, strawberry etc.

Optional Ingredients:

  • Hawk feathers from a fae that has a hawk form
    • 5% chance of your child becoming a fae with switchable hawk form
  • Ash from anything burned by Aelin Ashryver Galathynius
    • 1% chance of your child being able to use fire
  • Ghost fire from a Ghost Leopard that is a shape shifter
    • 2% chance of your child being a shape shifter
  • Shadow fire from someone who can use shadow fire
    • 1% chance of your child bearing shadow fire
  • 1 Random head from Adarlan’s collection of dead people
    • According to zombies, brains are rich in minerals. So as eyes.
  • 1 ~ 2 valg rings
    • Increases the silver flavour.
  • 1 cup of sand from Skull’s bay
    • Blessed by the pirates for safe sailing.
      • P.S. if you manage to scoop fae-blessed sand, then you get a 10% chance of your child being fae.
      • P.P.S. you might as well as treasure that cup of sand, as it might have some interesting liquids soaked into it.

Steps:

  1. Prepare some logs. Light it on fire.
  2. Boil your sewer water in a huge witch pot.
  3. Mix all wet ingredients in the sewer water.
  4. When well mixed, wait for the chemical reaction that causes the stew to release pink smoke.
  5. Mix in dry ingredients one by one into the pot. You MUST wait until one dissolves completely before putting the next. Order does not matter.
  6. Wait for the chemical reaction of the stew turning orange, then your stew is ready.
  7. Invite friends.
  8. Serve.
  9. Make sure you have enough toilet bowls or drains ready.

Book Review: Under Rose Tainted Skies – Louise Gornall

Oh wow. It’s not Fantasy!

Contemporary!

The 2nd Contemporary in my history of book blogging! (not that I started for long.)

The next book I’m going to review is my Insider’s Guide to Disneyland Hong Kong, exclusive for cast members, NOT FOR SALE. It’s not even fictional! Factual and documentative!


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Name: Under Rose Tainted Skies
Author: Louise Gornall
Publisher: Chicken House
Release Date: July 7, 2016
(ooo Lucky 7)

Synopsis

Agoraphobia confines Norah to the house she shares with her mother.

For her, the outside is sky glimpsed through glass, or a gauntlet to run between home and car. But a chance encounter on the doorstep changes everything: Luke, her new neighbour. Norah is determined to be the girl she thinks Luke deserves: a ‘normal’ girl, her skies unfiltered by the lens of mental illness. Instead, her love and bravery opens a window to unexpected truths …

An important and uplifting debut from a British author, which tackles mental health issues such as agoraphobia and OCD.


Book Cover Comments

So I saw on Google about how this book has three colors: Persian Pink, Persian Rose and Lavender Magenta. Now, when I was at Waterstones this summer, they pretty much only had Persian Rose so I got that, and its not neon blasting colors like the other ones, so that’s my fav 😂

Also, the golden birdcage that shimmers on the physical book with the heart is cute, and it’s also really deep and metaphorical.


The Actual Review

This book is the absolute sweetheart of my week.

And it’s something really meaningful as well.

So as we know from the premise, Norah is a girl who has agoraphobia and OCD, and in this book, Gornall really goes through all the details and gives the readers a full experience of what a person with these two mental health issues are, so that we can understand these people another step better and it’s also a way for us to not freak out if we ever encounter these type of people.

Norah has many stereotypical questions and thoughts and concepts that is shared not only by those who have mindsets like her, but any teenage girl would go through these type of questions, and from there, I feel a connection with Norah, and sometimes I just go: “Seriously Norah, of course that’s not what they think.” or, “Norah dear, *sobs*.” Her character is extremely well written, and it is really meaningful for any girl to read if they have self confidence issues (me) and doubts with society & relationships (me). Anyone would see the world in a whole new way after reading it.

In this book, we are also introduced to Norah’s new neighbour, Luke. And OMG Luke is such a cute guy, you will actually fawn over his sweet and cuteness in this book. Luke is basically the dream guy. Now, I don’t know much about his appearances whatsoever (when I read, there’s no such thing as hot or not. Because I have a set cast for every single book, it’s just about if I’m using them or not XD The main characters pretty much stay the same face XD), but this boy is super caring for Norah whenever they have their interactions, and he is sweet on many levels (I’m getting repetitive), and he is an extremely thoughtful person, aware of what he should do or not around Norah, though sometimes Love does not get held back by that control. Luke is also really accepting with who Norah is, and finds ways to associate himself with Norah so that they might have better connection. (which they did)

The ending was a tad bit confusing and all? Like, I didn’t quite catch some details and where it happened, but there’s one thing I know for sure, is that Norah is improving by the minute, and the fact that she was able to reach Luke in time was really brave of her.

And I was also saying how this book has a great understanding of what life is, and the obstacles and challenges that come at it. So I must quote something from the epilogue of this book that is really really really true, and thank you Louise for reminding me about it:

“Your mind adapts to what worse is. Suddenly, that thing that seemed so terrifying at first is dwarfed by the next challenge that comes your way. But you adapt again and again and again, until you find yourself fearless.”

Under Rose-Tainted Skies is a beautiful book about a girl who locked herself in a birdcage, and the one with the key that will bring her out of it and filling her heart with love.

 

Book Review: A Shadow Bright and Burning – Jessica Cluess

Now that’s one lengthy title.

I procrastinated so much, I’m writing this at 1:50am in the morning lol.

#MeAndMyTerribleSleeingSchedule


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Name: A Shadow Bright and Burning
Author: Jessica Cluess
Publisher: Dutton Books
Release Date: September 20, 2016

Synopsis

I am Henrietta Howel. The first female sorcerer. The prophesied one. Or am I?

Henrietta Howel can burst into flames. When she is brought to London to train with Her Majesty’s sorcerers, she meets her fellow sorcerer trainees, young men eager to test her powers and her heart. One will challenge her. One will fight for her. One will betray her. As Henrietta discovers the secrets hiding behind the glamour of sorcerer life, she begins to doubt that she’s the true prophesied one. With battle looming, how much will she risk to save the city–and the one she loves?


Book Cover Comments

The burning rose is actually super gorgeous. That orange and turquoise flame looks ABSOLUTELY STUNNING TOGETHER.


The Actual Review

Victoria Aveyard’s blurb is 100% correct. The world building was definitely as deep and dark as the ocean.

I knew I didn’t want to put down this book from the very first moment I held it in my hands. Let’s begin by the fact that this book is basically partly historical fiction, which was really cooool. I was in London 2 months ago, and so I remember one or two key locations that was featured in the book.

The weirdest thing was reading this after Miss Peregrine’s Trilogy, because Ransom Riggs also used Christopher Wren and St. Paul’s Cathedral, which made me go haywire XD

Henrietta is a super cool character, with the secret that she needs to hide and her true identity, as well as how she chooses to overcome and face these obstacles. I loved it so much when in the end she chose her best friend as her one true love and to stay with him forever, even if there might be things that she is scared of him. One thing I’m going to complain about is: WHERE IS THAT KISS I’M LOOKING FOR!?!?!?!?!?!?

The other companion sorcerers that trained with Henrietta was really awesome as well, with how each of them has their own problems and annoying issues, as well as differing attitudes towards Henrietta being the first female sorcerer in quite a while. Some of them accept Henrietta for who she is, and her abilities of creating fire, which was really sweet and nice of them. I’d like a bunch of these kindhearted boys to train with me for anything except academics haha.

It’s probably just me and my monster-marshmallow-fying imagination, but I know how bloody and “bloody hell” and “goodness gracious” and “God save me” all the monsters are in this book. I also love how there was a little poem for all the boss monsters which was really fun to read, though I’d rather the leader be in Sunday, as Sunday was the last line of that poem, and Sundays are different in a way, so it’d make it more unique XD

There are tons of revelations going on in this book, and I obviously won’t spoil you so I can’t tell you what it is, but you’ll come to learn more stuff about the wizard who brought Henrietta here.

It was kind of sad to see Henrietta and her best friend growing apart in the training house, how their distance kept increasing because they now have different life missions, but I’m also so glad in the end, how the last time the book mentioned the two of them together was really sweet and touching and heartwarming at the same time.

I see this book as one with a lot of morals of accepting your abilities, embracing it and using it in the best way possible, as well as believing in your friends and don’t be mad just because someone said something.

Of course I can’t spoil how Henrietta’s past plays an important role in this story, but please go read it because this book was actually really beautiful and powerful, and I can’t wait to read the sequel to know what happens next after boss stage climax passed.


A Shadow Bright and Burning tells the tale of Henrietta Howel, who Is the one shining bright and burning, with her fire to extinguish the evil to protect her loved ones.

Book Review: Tales of the Peculiar – Ransom Riggs

One of the best physical books ever, with the most peculiar credits and author picture, as well as that beautiful fabric jacket and shimmering golden vines.


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Name: Tales of the Peculiar
Author: Ransom Riggs
Publisher: Dutton Books
Release Date: September 3, 2016

Synopsis

Before Miss Peregrine gave them a home, the story of peculiars was written in the Tales.

Wealthy cannibals who dine on the discarded limbs of peculiars. A fork-tongued princess. The origins of the first ymbryne. These are but a few of the truly brilliant stories in Tales of the Peculiar—known to hide information about the peculiar world—first introduced by Ransom Riggs in his Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children series.

Riggs now invites you to share his secrets of peculiar history, with a collection of original stories, as collected and annotated by Millard Nullings, ward of Miss Peregrine and scholar of all things peculiar.


Book Cover Comments

Classy, pretty, that gold shine on that velvet green, I like it!


The Actual Review

This book is super cool, beginning in the way where Millard (character from the main series) is sort of the collector of tales for the so-called re-editioned Tales of the Peculiar. Millard has an author profile page for himself, and this book has the most amusing copyright credits whatsoever you call that page thing. Syndrigast publishing my goodness. I was like wait what, WOAH.

So Tales of the Peculiar is a collection of some of the best tales from the original rare story-only-existing “Tales of the Peculiar” which is three volumes and heavy as hell. I absolutely love the idea of this book, because we get to experience what its like to read the Tales of the Peculiar with the book in our hands. The gorjass pages also makes the flipping way more fun and amusing I know I’m not making any sense at all.

In the actual series, (all reviews can be found in my review page), there were two tales mentioned, one being Cuthbert, the other being St. Paul’s Cathedral one. In this recollection, Millard decides to take another telling of St. Paul’s Cathedral, which was really interesting instead of repeating whatever we have in the original series, giving us a new sample of what the story came out as in different generations of peculiars. Cuthbert story, because it meant a lot in the series, was kept its original way, with an additional ending by Millard at the end, which was really lovely.

This book is a wonderful read at anytime of the series, as well as being a standalone novel itself. Of course you won’t understand who Millard is, but this book is basically my Peculiar Aesop’s Fables, and I absolutely love more of this world building of Peculiardom, as well as a trip to discover many more different peculiarities and perspectives of one’s story.