Hollow City – A Review

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Title: Hollow City
Author: Ransom Riggs
Genre: Supernatural Fantasy / Sci-Fi Fantasy / Historical Fantasy
Series: Yes; Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐
Short Review: A tale of intriguing adventures of peculiar children mixed with time travel, war and romance told with unique historical pictures.

page-breakh.jpgQuotes from Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

❤“When someone won’t let you in, eventually you stop knocking.”

❤“We cling to our fairy tales until the price for believing in them becomes too high.”

❤“Strange, I thought, how you can be living your dreams and your nightmares at the very same time.”

❤“..what an unchallenged life it would be if we always got things right on the first go.”

❤“…slow and drunk is no match for fast and scared shitless.”

❤“Just because they knew it was lost didn’t mean they knew how to let it go.”

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Synopsis

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children was the surprise best seller of 2011—an unprecedented mix of YA fantasy and vintage photography that enthralled readers and critics alike. Publishers Weekly called it “an enjoyable, eccentric read, distinguished by well-developed characters, a believable Welsh setting, and some very creepy monsters.”

This second novel begins in 1940, immediately after the first book ended. Having escaped Miss Peregrine’s island by the skin of their teeth, Jacob and his new friends must journey to London, the peculiar capital of the world. Along the way, they encounter new allies, a menagerie of peculiar animals, and other unexpected surprises.

Complete with dozens of newly discovered (and thoroughly mesmerizing) vintage photographs, this new adventure will delight readers of all ages.

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Review

Hollow City does a good job of creating a captivating, magical world and accompanying the plot with finely selected vintage photos.

The photographs in Hollow City are just as bizarre and outlandish as the ones in the first book. I love the way the photos tie into the story and how each photo seems to tell a story of it’s own.

It was exciting to see the world outside of Cairnholm and to read about the Peculiar children who are traveling to London. The first novel in the series had a very closed environment to it and it was amazing to see the expanded world of the Peculiar. The world-building in Hollow City is thorough and readers will be brought to new loops where there are peculiar animals and other unexpected creatures. I loved visiting so many varied locations and reading about the distinct Peculiar locals.

There was however, a lot of repetitiveness, with all the kids on run and wights catching up every other chapter. I also felt it was dragged unnecessarily and wanted to skip thru some chapters but I didn’t (Yay me!)

I was constantly told not to continue the series as it gets worse, well it didn’t. Again, I didn’t enjoy the writing as much but the vintage pictures made up for it. The trilogy is still a better option than many other fantasy out there.

Read Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children to find out! Or goodreads-badge-add-plus-d700d4d3e3c0b346066731ac07b7fe47

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Other Books from the Series

#1  Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children – June 2011
#2  Hollow City – Feb 2015
#3  Library of Souls – September 2015

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Similar Books

Buy Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children Now!img-thing.jpg

(International)
Hardcover    Box Set $34.18
Paperback    Box Set $26.28

(Pakistan)
Paperback Pkr.995/-

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Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them – A Review

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Title: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them – A Review

Author: J.K. Rowling

Genre: fantasy

Rating ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

 

I read the Hogwarts library books when they first came out (which was early 2000) and I absolutely loved them for the scribbles by Harry and Ron and the fact that they make you feel you’re in the wizarding world (with Scamandar listed as author and Dumbledore’s foreword) but when I heard the movie was coming out I wanted to reread the three all over again, specially the fantastic beasts itself.

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Many out there who haven’t read believed fantastic beast to have a story line but it never did, its like an encyclopedia of the beasts in wizarding world. The movie shows many of these characters and well that’s the only similarity to it. However, the book itself is a joy to read.

 

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It takes an hour or two to learn about all the friendly and vicious beasts that are part of Harry’s realm. There’s so many of them described in Rowling’s style that you can’t not be thrilled. After re-reading fantastic beasts, the tri-wizarding tournament was also fun to read as you actually get to learn about the dragons.

Also, I see Hagrid’s fascination now, I guess if were to find these creatures around, I would want to be as compassionate as he was. 🙂

If you’re read it already, do tell me what you though about it? If you haven’t, well what are you waiting for?

Grab a copy or at least,

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Red Queen – A Review

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Title:                   Red Queen
Author:              Victoria Aveyard
Genre:                Science Fiction, Dystopian YA
Topics:                Kingdom, Superficial Powers
Publisher:          Harper Teen
Published on:    July 3rd, 2015
Pages:                  388
Rating:                ★★★
Formats:             Paperback, Hardback, Kindle
Short Review:   Fighting Kingdoms, Magical powers, detestable villains, love triangles and a bit of everything for a fantasy fanatic.
“Anyone can betray anyone.”

#NMBookReview


The similarity between Red Queen and Hunger games in uncanny! So much of this book reminds me of Katniss, and later of Joffrey and his evil mother, the queen; Cersei. I would’ve liked it much more if it weren’t for all the similar plot lines. That being said, Aveyard definitely walked in the zone with a strong debut novel leaving plenty of us hooked and anticipating the series.

I picked up the book for all the hype over on Instagram (read bookstagram) and the mesmerizing cover, I hadn’t known then it was a dystopian novel, only that it was YA fantasy, I’m glad it turned out better than expected.

Victoria builds a strong female protagonist who struggles to fit in and ends up realizing how that never would be possible. The dystopian world of Red Queen series is divided into two sides, the Red and the Silver, the color of their blood and later reveals those who aren’t neither or both?

The writing is brilliant for a young debut author, better than most debut YA fantasy novels but feels a bit too descriptive sometimes, especially in the later installments of the series. There are plenty of Characters to hate and admire, all with powers and secrets of their own, but that’s not the best part, the best is the plot twist that comes about half way into the series, I loved how it was unexpected (was for me) and cleverly played. Usually, the story before the twist seems dragged but this wasn’t the case for Red Queen, it’s interesting throughout.

The kingdom keeps expanding, houses keeps evolving, love interests develop, characters gradually grow complex ( mostly the main characters ), revolution against revolution, blood against blood, superficial powers against masterminds, battles, and challenges, the commoners stand against the elite in power, and the poor despairing Mare Barrow goes from a rat in the scum scheming in desperation for bread and water to become the face of power within a day.

I’d recommend it to anyone who enjoyed The Hunger Games, you’d enjoy discovering who the lightning girl is and what the silencers can do. You’d find out about strongarm’s strength and the magic of a magnetron, of all the colors of the houses and their command on specific powers.

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Synopsis


This is a world divided by blood – red or silver.The Reds are commoners, ruled by a Silver elite in possession of god-like superpowers. And to Mare Barrow, a seventeen-year-old Red girl from the poverty-stricken Stilts, it seems like nothing will ever change.

The Reds are commoners, ruled by a Silver elite in possession of god-like superpowers. And to Mare Barrow, a seventeen-year-old Red girl from the poverty-stricken Stilts, it seems like nothing will ever change.

That is until she finds herself working in the Silver Palace. Here, surrounded by the people she hates the most, Mare discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy the balance of power.

Fearful of Mare’s potential, the Silvers hide her in plain view, declaring her a long-lost Silver princess, now engaged to a Silver Prince. Despite knowing that one misstep would mean her death, Mare works silently to help the Red Guard, a militant resistance group, and bring down the Silver regime.

But this is a world of betrayal and lies, and Mare has entered a dangerous dance – Reds against Silvers, prince against a prince, and Mare against her own heart.

The Hate U Give – A Review

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Title:                      The Hate U Give
Author:                 Angie Thomas
Genre:                   Contemporary Fiction
Topics:                  Friendship, Racism, Activism
Book Type:          Fiction
Publisher:           HarperCollins
Published on:     February 28, 2017
Pages:                   464
Rating:                 ★★★★★
Formats:              Audiobook, Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
Short Review:   A rare, painful yet beautifully classic read.

“They finally put a sheet over Khalil. He can’t breathe under it. I can’t breathe.”

#NMBookReview


A very rare, painful yet beautifully classic read. The Hate U Give easily tops the other YA releases of 2017 with its true depiction of a teen girl and her life being a minority.

Thomas personifies the victims of police brutality and reflects on the lives of those affected by the shootings and like incidents. It was soul stirring and eye opening how Thomas shed light into her community, how the stereotypes and specifically ‘THUG LIFE’ was portrayed. I always heard about the injustice with minority all around the world, being in Saudi Arabia, I’ve been on the receiving end of some gender discrimination but never thought that the Black in the US and minorities, in general, suffer through so much.

The Hate U Give was inspired by the Black Lives Movement and I was scared when I picked up the book because I didn’t want it to be another commercial attempt to end racism. What I loved about the book was that Thomas didn’t preach, she didn’t put an end to racism, just the beginning of it ( the end). It’s realistic, crafty, inspiring and so beautiful. The tragedy of Starr is heartfelt and her experience is owned by the reader, throughout the book it didn’t feel like just another story or just a bunch of handwritten characters, but rich personalities living a complex life. I loved every bit of this novel, it’s not just written brilliantly but also well thought out and planned.

Look out for young love, not the cliche cinnamon like romance that creeps most of us. The siblings never keeping secrets and then fighting over it, the parents acting cute and weird all the time, the grandparents being super humans, the family being supportive and crazy all the same, plus drama, loads of it. With gangbangers and drug addicts, with police and mean girls, all the usual, but all the rare.

A YA that deserves to be read in schools, at home, everywhere, by the children and their parents. It leaves us wondering about the tiniest of racism many of us suffer from but never question, about the power of speaking up and standing for something. I truly believe that this book is a start to a revolutionary step against racism everywhere, I hope that as citizens, we’re more careful and responsible and always, always listen to either side of the story.

One other thing Angie has taught me with her inspiring words is the importance of bonding with friends and family. In today’s world, especially with the YA novels, we often talk about ‘not giving a shit’ over stuff which eggs me because I’m the sentimental kid that would notice if you unfollow me on Tumblr and now I know that it does matter. That whatever and whoever you are, you’ll most probably never fit in, even when trying so hard to act, so let’s just drop it? Let’s be ourselves for real this time, not just tweeting or posting about it but for real. Let’s not take or give away any more of hate.

Before I end my review, I’d like to thank Angie for writing this book. You spoke up on behalf of all of us who wouldn’t and that’s something you should be really proud of!

I’d also like to share that the film was optioned by Fox 2000, with “Hunger Games” star Amandla Stenberg to appear as Starr. I’m thrilled and excited for the release, are you?

Synopsis


Sixteen-year-old Starr lives in two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she was born and raised and her posh high school in the suburbs. The uneasy balance between them is shattered when Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, by a police officer. Now what Starr says could destroy her community. It could also get her killed.

Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, this is a powerful and gripping YA novel about one girl’s struggle for justice.

When Breath Becomes Air – A Review

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Title: When Breath Becomes Air

Author: Paul Kalanithi

Genre: Non-Fiction / Memoir

Pages: 200

Rating: ★★★★★

Short Review: A devastating read that breaks your heart, makes you cry but also helps you find your purpose in life.

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Synopsis

‘Finishing this book and then forgetting about it is simply not an option… Unmissable’ New York Times

For readers of Atul Gawande, Andrew Solomon, and Anne Lamott, a profoundly moving, exquisitely observed memoir by a young neurosurgeon faced with a terminal cancer diagnosis who attempts to answer the question What makes a life worth living? 

At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a decade’s training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer. One day he was a doctor treating the dying, the next he was a patient struggling to live.

When Breath Becomes Air chronicles Kalanithi’s transformation from a medical student asking what makes a virtuous and meaningful life into a neurosurgeon working in the core of human identity – the brain – and finally into a patient and a new father.

What makes life worth living in the face of death? What do you do when life is catastrophically interrupted? What does it mean to have a child as your own life fades away?

Paul Kalanithi died while working on this profoundly moving book, yet his words live on as a guide to us all. When Breath Becomes Air is a life-affirming reflection on facing our mortality and on the relationship between doctor and patient, from a gifted writer who became both.

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Quoting When Breath Becomes Air

“You can’t ever reach perfection, but you can believe in an asymptote toward which you are ceaselessly striving.” 

“There is a moment, a cusp when the sum of gathered experience is worn down by the details of living. We are never so wise as when we live in this moment.” 

“What makes life meaningful enough to go on living?” 

“Death may be a one-time event but living with a terminal illness is a process.” 

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My Review

I tried my best to be unbiased when reviewing this book but somehow the tragic incident with the author made it all the more beautiful. Don’t get me wrong, death is not beautiful but the fact that someone’s life, even when short-lived gave so much to this world is. That a person, despite the odds achieved part of his dream and became who he always aspired to be.

When breath becomes air is written by Paul himself as he discovers and fights cancer. A surgeon about to graduate is paused midway planning his entire life due to a disease and he pens it all down, his thoughts and relationships and most importantly his aspirations on the face of mortality. While reading this book, I realized how it’s never too late to follow your dreams, that no matter the odds there’s always a chance. I also look at death now as a motivator, only if we thought we don’t have time we’d fit it all in a day.

I grieve for his wife to have to part with the love of her life and his child who’d never get to know the talented surgeon, the brilliant writer, the devoted father but above all a beautiful human being. The way Paul wrote made me travel his journey with him, I sobbed with every x-ray and smiled on every tiny achievement,  I’m glad that during his last moments he was at peace, glad that he got to publish at least one book. Today we all remember him not for the accomplished surgeon that he was, but the beautiful writer that he remains.

I recommend everyone to read it, you won’t love it at all but I guess we all need a reality check every now and then, maybe this could be yours.May you find your calling.

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Check it out on Goodreads!

Buy it from Book Depository for US$9.12