Monthly Archives: January 2016

Cruel Crown by Victoria Aveyard


IMG_1073Title: Cruel Crown

Author: Victoria Aveyard

Publisher: HarperTeen

Publish Date: January 5, 2016

Pages: 208 pages

Cruel Crown by Victoria Aveyard is a compilation of her two novellas — Queen Song and Steel Scars. It also gives you the opportunity to have a sneak peak to entice you, tease you, make-you-wish-it’s-the-release-day, of her second book, Glass Sword (not that she needed to).

Queen Song is a novella about Queen Coriane’s past, how she rose to the throne and the “scandal” behind it, and how she was murdered.

Coriane came from the House of Jacos, a poor, insignificant, and forgotten House compared to the other noble Houses. She loves books, tinkering, and doing manual labor. These practices, however, are frowned upon by her father and her foul cousin Jessamine for she is of Silver blood and God forbid any Silver blood caught doing such things.

She grew up with her best friends, brother Julian Jacos and Sara Skonos. On her birthday, she received a journal from her brother where she wrote her most private thoughts, deaths and events, and later on, her last thoughts before her untimely death.

No matter how happy the trio are that day, most happiness can end abruptly. Julian and Sara have their own plan of sharing a life together, as a couple, focusing more on each other. Knowing this, Coriane became more depressed and succumbed to the thought that she will live the rest of her life with her evil cousin Jessamine, alone, unwed, and unloved (the author did a great job reminding the reader that Coriane has very low self-esteem and self-worth). *insert sassy Harry Potter eye roll here*

Coriane’s fate was changed when she met Tiberias the 6th, son of Tiberias the 5th from House Calore. The prince fell for Coriane, a singer (one who can manipulate and control minds), a nobody, from House Jacos. It was true love, but the people thought otherwise. They said that she used her power to make Tibe fall for her, to get the crown, and have him marry her. Powerful people from other Houses were in opposition of their union, that there should have been a Queenstrial to earn the right to be married to Tibe. But he was in love with Coriane. The Queen and Prince Robert knew this too, and they both respect his decision to marry Coriane and not have a Queenstrial.

The couple was happy. However, that didn’t last. Someone is reading Queen Coriane’s mind, constantly planting thoughts and nightmares, driving her mad. King Tiberias and Queen Coriane finally had a baby and per tradition, he was named Tiberias. Queen Coriane called him Cal.

Queen Coriane’s nightmares returned and it was worse than ever. The next day, “the diary ended unfinished, unseen by any who deserved to read it. Only (name removed due to spoiler) saw its pages, and the slow unravelling of the woman inside.”

This novella is a heartbreaking one. Coriane did nothing but love Tibe, yet other people who think of themselves as better than her, people who have power lust, think that their opportunity to wear the crown was stolen from them unfairly. This book solidified the fact that whoever murdered Queen Coriane is a heartless person who would stop at nothing for power.

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Steel Scars is a novella that revolves around Captain Farley and The Scarlet Guard. It basically explained how The Scarlet Guard operates and how they can expand by knowing important people and places that would benefit them. It filled in some gaps from Red Queen, which showed us that they were in the background when everything else was happening. The book is also informative on how Captain Farley found Shade Barrow and became more involved in rescuing Mare Barrow, and in the end rescuing Cal as well.

Rating 3.5/5 stars

Overall, Cruel Crown is found between a good read and informative read. It helped me remember Red Queen and it prepared me (and overhyped me) for Glass Sword.

Overall rating: 3.5/5 stars

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho


alchemistTitle: The Alchemist

Author: Paulo Coelho

Publisher: HarperOne

Publish Date: April 25, 2014 (first published 1988)

Pages: 182 pages

This book was given to me by a very good friend from work and she raved about The Alchemist. She said she has read this book a million times and she always felt the same awe after she reads it. I became curious about the book and decided to read it.

If you feel like you have no control over your life,

If you feel like everything is not going your way,

If you feel like you have lost sight of the true meaning of life,

If you have hit rock bottom and you feel like there is no hope,

If you’re held back from your ultimate dream,

If you are uncertain or worried about your future,

If you just need a reminder of the beauty of life,

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho is the book for you.

Some may say that the meaning behind the book is very obvious and wish that the translation was a little better and I totally agree. However, what I liked about the book is that it is a great reminder to always follow your dreams. It reminds us that the journey, not the destination, is important. It urges us to never give up when trials come your way because anything worth having won’t come easy.

I mean, the book is a very big cliché, but what really intrigued me is when it started mentioning The Philosopher’s Stone that can transform large quantities of metal into gold and The Elixir of Life that kept the Alchemist from growing old.


*coughs* J.K. Rowling *coughs*

I am obviously not certain, but this really made me happy for I am a HUGE Harry Potter Fanatic!

Overall, The Alchemist was a good read. I wish I finished it sooner though. Nevertheless, I am thankful to have read this for I needed a reminder myself.

When a person really desires something, all the universe conspires to help that person to realize his dreams.

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

The Rest Of Us Just Live Here


TROUJLHTitle: The Rest Of Us Just Live Here

Author: Patrick Ness

Publisher: HarperTeen

Publish Date: October 6, 2015

Pages: 336 pages

Everybody knows the lead character of every book. Who doesn’t, right? He/she is just the MAIN focus of the book; we all know every mannerism, everything they do, the shade of his/her eyes, the love interest, etc. They are the ones who make sure the world doesn’t end or the damsel in distress gets saved (is this still a thing?) and manages to do all of that without getting killed or maimed.

However, nobody knows about the supporting cast — the people who live their normal lives while the super hero saves the day, the people who just want to be safe, the people who just want to go to work or graduate, the people who don’t know that an invasion is about to happen and their fate is in the hands of a teenager who helplessly fell in love with the invader’s son who double crossed her in the end because he is, surprise, his mother’s son.

This is what Patrick Ness did with The Rest Of Us Just Live Here (and that is how some of his writing is too). The ordinary, supporting casts gets the lime light instead of the heroes who tries to save their small, sketchy town. Sure, their town gets their share of crazy bat shit paranormal phenomena more often than they need, but life goes on when you’re not the one responsible for saving your town from the Immortals. Life goes on when you’re not an “Indie.” Life goes on when you are a normal teenager.

The book doesn’t really have a plot per se. All they (Mikey, Mel, Henna, and Jared) really want is to survive the rest of their high school life, and spend all of their time together before everybody graduates and moves out of town. It does have a short synopsis in every chapter about the crazy things that are happening in their town while the “supporting casts” try to survive their day to day lives.

I must say that I fell in love with Patrick Ness after I read A Monster Calls. This book threw me a little off because of it’s different type of writing. But, that does not mean I dislike Patrick Ness now. This book actually made me like him more.

Wait, what? You just said the writing is different but you still like him?

Yep. You read that right! I rarely read the acknowledgment section, but in this book I did. I was so surprised that this book was a fund raiser for the Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) for the Philippines.

“Authors donated various prizes for which people bid.”

Patrick Ness auctioned off the chance to have the winners name in this book and the winners were Henna Silvennoinen and Jared Shurin. Lucky!

Overall, The Rest Of Us Just Live Here was a good way to start the new year. It shows us that even if we feel that nothing is really happening in our lives, it doesn’t mean it’s not a life worth living. We all get caught up with our everyday lives that sometimes we forget to thank God for the blessings we have received. We all get so upset at work that sometimes we forget that we are lucky to be employed, that  we are able to bring food on the table, and keep a roof over our head.

“Sometimes you have to find the EXTRAORDINARY in the ordinary.”

. . .this I certainly intend to do.

By the way, the book sleeve GLOWS IN THE DARK!

Rating: 3.5/5 stars