Book Review: A Darker Shade of Magic

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4.5 Stars

“Rhy hated it when Kell was forced to use blood magic, because he felt personally responsible– he often was– for the sacrifice that came with it. He had caused Kell great deal of pain once, and had never quite forgiven himself for it”

I was very skeptical of this book, I was worried that I will not come to like it and that my money would be wasted for nothing (I bought the 2 books together), BUT I’m glad that I did and I can’t tell how deep I’m drawn to the story, characters, plot and everything related to this book. I can feel that I’m living in Red London and witnessing all these event, if not moving from one London to another (LOL). Yes, the book is that strong, the style of the writer (this is my first read for her) and how she describes the scenes, feelings, the setting and surrounding is just beyond amazing. Some books you try very hard to picture what the writer is trying to show you but not in this book, everything was easy to read and picture especially the faces of the characters.

Let’s talk about the characters, and I want to talk about the VILLAINS first because I loved them all, yes I love crazy lunatic villains especially Astrid, I thought she is awesome, loved everything about her and how freaky she is. Her brother Athos was a psycho, a very lovely psycho hehe. And last but not least Hollan who I felt sad for and sympathised with him. I kind of felt that there is good in him but the evilness controlled him.

The heroes of this book are of course Kell & Lilah. I loved those duo and thought that they’d make a great couple (maybe in the 2nd book? Can’t wait to read it). Lila had this wittiness in her which made her more attractive to the reader, the stubbornness in her was well written and described, she irritated me in the first pages when she met Kell for the first time but then I fell in love with her. Now, about Kell. He is a great character/ hero but I felt that he was beaten up and felt guilty a lot. I mean, i love beaten up heroes, it makes them more sexy but not all the time. If V. E. Schwab had had cut down some of the beaten up/guilty scenes, I would have given this book 5 stars.

I LOVED IT❤

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Science Cream-Cardiff

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One of the most delicious ice cream places in Cardiff. Located in Castle Arcade. I came upon this place by accident. I was walking with Jana exploring the arcades in the area and then I saw this small ice cream place. Beautifully decorated in a very simple way to give you the feeling of a science lab.

The flavours and toppings change every now and then so I want to try as much flavours as I can before I go back home. We tried the Brown Butter Caramel with Caramel topping and Rainbow Pretzel and we LOVED it. I can’t tell you how delicious it was. We came later and tried something with Raspberry or Coconut I can’t remember exactly but it wasn’t as good as the caramel one. So we went for the 3rd time and had the Caramel AGAIN😀

I also tried the Hot Chocolate with Toasted Marshmallows, it was good but very heavy and their Flat White was really good.

DELICIOUS.

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Cardiff Castle-Part 3

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This is the last part of Cardiff Castle in which you’ll see the beautiful Drawing Room that is filled with paintings of some of the great men of Bute family. In this room, women used to enjoy their time painting for they had almost nothing to do except waiting and other stuff which I forgot what they were😛

After that you’ll see the amazing Library which i fell in love with its decoration and structure. I tried toughing one of the books to see if they were real but i couldn’t tell and I was afraid to do further exploration for i might do some damaging.

Then we take a look at the castle from the outside and we go up to The Roman Keep which is basically an empty circle that has narrow steps which takes you up to Wales flag. I went up but not to the flag, but my brother did and he said the view was amazing from the top.

Part 1

Part 2

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Bute Park-Cardiff

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This park is named after the Bute family who were the richest family in Cardiff and owned Cardiff Castle in the past. The park is huge and it looks like a forest with all the huge trees in it. It’s part of Cardiff Castle but has its own separate entrance.

I took Juju there many times to enjoy some activities while enjoy the greens, the river and the amazing weather. She loves it there and always asks me to go to the park everyday.

It has 3 cafes. One of them is the Pettigrew Tea Rooms and there two others, the Secret Garden and Summerhouse Cafe. I tried the Pettigrew one and Summerhouse but not the Secret Garden which I will in the upcoming days.

The park is big and kids can do so many things. It over looks the Taff river and it has a River Bus stop that takes you to Cardiff Bay which we have used twice and enjoyed a lot.

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Cardiff Castle-Part 2

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In this post, I’ll show you more of the rooms of the castle that are kept locked and only house tour holders can have a look at these rooms.

You can see the Family History Room which is HUGE, as in really huge with long table and the amazingly decorated ceiling, it’s just marvellous.

Also, you’ll see the 3rd marquess bedroom which I thought was beautiful decorated with angels to protect him from harm. Then there’s the Rooftop garden which looked so beautiful but without greens. There were pictures showing you how it would have looked like in the past. And the last couple of pictures are for the dining room which was so dull from my point of view.

Part 1

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Book Review: How To Find Love in A Bookshop

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I can’t decide whether to give this book 3 stars or 4 so I’m settling on 3.5 stars.

The idea of this book is amazing but it lacked the depth of characters and their development through out the story. I felt this book was done very fast without getting deep into the story itself. The feeling you get is not that strong because you couldn’t have formed an idea/feeling or get attached to the characters.

I’ve always loved the idea of having or managing my own bookshop so you can see my face when I saw this book in Waterstones. I couldn’t help myself but get it. Emilia is struggling to get Nightingale Books going after the death of her father. She does her best to keep it going knowing that it had a great impact on its customers and found out some secrets trying to keep the bookshop going.

The book had many characters but focused only on few. The only characters that I liked were Dillon and Alice. So many characters were left behind like Thomasina & Jem. Also Jackson & Mia, not to mention June & Mick. I wish the writer had given more time and effort for the left out characters.

The writing was ok, not that wow but easy for the eye and mind.

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Book Review: The Essex Serpent

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You know when you start reading a book, you feel it’s slow & going no where in the first few pages!? Well, that’s how i felt about it in the beginning but because of the crazy reviews i read about this book i kept reading it til i reached a point where i couldn’t stop & i just kept reading falling in love with the plot, the characters, the setting & everything in between.

I’ll not talk about the story for it’s pretty clear in the synopsis but i’d rather talk about the characters & what they’ve represented. Science & religion. Power & money, high class & lower class, freedom & suppression, desire & shame, love & friendship.

The characters & their lives can be interpreted in so many ways, it just depends on the reader & how he/she sees the story.

I loved Cora’s character & how she couldn’t deal with her little boy because maybe there is something wrong with him & she doesn’t see it?! Will’s character was also very well written, struggling with his desire & afraid to sin as he’s the Reverend & a married man to a loving wife who seems stupid or naive but she is the opposite. I also loved Martha’s character, she’s something hehe, but hated Luke. Such an arrogant man:/

This book is highly recommended.

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My Cookie Dough-Cardiff

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One of the places that I’ve discovered while I’m in Cardiff is My Cookie Dough which I came its pictures on instagram under #cardiffshopping for I was looking for something specific and found this place. Guess what? It has been infant of my own eyes for several days and I didn’t notice it at all.

Every morning I go to St. David’s Shopping Centre either for shopping or for food, but never noticed this, so when I saw its picture I couldn’t wait till next morning. Early in the morning, I went around 9:45 am and it was just Jana and I😀

I asked for the White Chocolate Cookie Dough with Raspberry sauce. They have 3 or 4 flavours I guess but you know, I like anything with Raspberry. The lady who served us was very generous and put extra vanilla ice cream for us. It was heavenly delicious, we loved it. We went there again and tried the Peanut Butter Cookie Dough with Chocolate sauce and it was even better.

If you’re in Cardiff or planning to go there then you must try this place.

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Cardiff Castle-Part 1

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Last weekend, we dropped Cardiff Castle a visit and it was amazing🙂 We loved the whole trip to this place which turned out to be huge unlike what it seemed to be. We got there early in the morning around 9:30 am on a Saturday to avoid the crowd and I believe we were the first ones to be there. We bought the House Tour ticket because some rooms are locked and opened only for House Tour holders beside we had a great guide who gave us a brief history about each room.

Seeing the castle from the inside with all the corridors, hallways and narrow stairs was really amazing. I felt as I was in The Game of Thrones or Outlander😛

You can read more about the castle as I’m don’t have the time to write that much of information. In this post you’ll see photos of The Winter Smoking Room where men used to enjoy smoking in winter in this room after finishing their lunch/dinner and also you’ll the The Nursery Room which belonged to the four children of the family and had beautiful drawings on the wall of so many fictional characters.

Categories: Cardiff, Cosmetics, UK, Vacation | 2 Comments

Book Review: Sleeper’s Castle

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“Little Welsh children, taken away to England by order of the king”.

     Reading this book while I’m in Wales and knowing more about the history of this city has been an exciting experience.

     This book has it all; Dreams, Day Dreams, Time Travel, Romance, History, Heroes, Two Worlds, Psychology, Crime and more.

    Can you imagine reading a book that has everything you like in one place? I enjoyed reading this book a lot, I can’t describe my feelings about this, I’m overwhelmed and can’t get all the characters out of my mind.

     Andy dreams of the past and Catrin dreams of the Future. They cross path in their dreams and meet each other. Shocked by the discovery but not afraid of the abnormal activities happening in Sleeper’s Castle where everyone has his own share of dreams. Both woman will deal many things to reach for peace and settle in harmony after struggling with grief and agony.

     I loved all the characters, especially Catrin and Edmund; their story was beautifully written and developed. The mains character Andy was ok, didn’t have that emotional attachment to her, not like Catrin. I felt that Catrin was stronger and more in control of her life considering the time she has lived in and what she has faced in her life by her father. I guess I wanted to know more about Andy and Bryn but that is left for the reader to imagine and enjoy after finishing this book. And the final discovery about Bryn, didn’t see that coming but I LOVED IT.

     The dreaming part was so powerfully written in the book, it felt as if it was real, like you (the reader) were there inside the book and inside the dreams. The writing style, the details, the characters, the plot was just perfects. This was my first read for Barbara Erskine but it won’t be the last.

Highly Recommended

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Book Review: When Breath Becomes Air

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“So what tense was I living? Have I proceeded beyond the present tense and into the past perfect? The future tense seems vacant and, on other’s lips, jarring.”

This book broke my heart and shattered it to pieces. My mother died of cancer almost 11 years ago, and I can’t imagine how it was for her to know that she has cancer, the unknown seemed a bit clear, that this fatal illness brings only misery and death even when you become better, it comes back again with lots of pain, misery and DEATH.

Paul Kalanithi is a neurosurgeon, from the book you can feel/know that he was a great man with a great future that he didn’t have, or maybe had half of it or a bit, who knows. The book starts with his life as a residence, then moves to when he became a patient, after that it ends with his wife Lucy talking about his last days and how he died.

The first part was ok. The 2nd part was awful, because we as regular patients, don’t have the full picture of our illnesses even when the doctor tries to explain everything to you. But imagine a doctor finding out that he has cancer and how fatal it is; this was awful. I mean, how he had to deal with it after knowing/seeing his results, that was really bad.

Coming to the end of the book where Lucy his wife ends the book with the last few days of his life spent surrounded by his family and loved ones, describing his death by her own words was really sad and heartbreaking. I cried reading his wife’s words.

I finished this book in just 4 hrs, couldn’t keep it down.

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Pettigrew Tea Rooms-Cardiff Castle

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A couple of days ago, the weather was really beautiful and cold a bit. I wanted to visit Pettigrew Tea Rooms but the non-stop rainy weather didn’t let us have a nice walk. It’s located in Bute Park just after Cardiff Castle, which is a 10 minutes walk from where I’m staying (The Hayes). Didn’t have difficulty in finding it, as it is situated on the road, so easy to find.

There is a small entrance for the small Tea Room and there’s the bigger entrance just from the Bute Park entrance which we used. I wanted to sit outdoors as it’s not every day you get this weather especially knowing that i’ll get back to the hottest climate on earth soon, so I wanted to get enough cool weather🙂

I got the poached eggs with salmon on brown toast and black coffee. The presentation was very simple yet so elegant, i loved how everything was so simple yet beautiful and stunning. The view I had while having this dish was beyond amazing, surrounded by greens everywhere and huge trees like you’ve never seen before. I’ll go again to Bute Park and take more photos of the place.

This small place is highly recommended. You MUST eat there and I suggest you have your breakfast. I might go an afternoon tea to try the scones and mini sandwiches.

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Categories: Cardiff, Cosmetics, Vacation | 1 Comment

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