Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

9781780622309-crooked-kingdom-by-leigh-bardugoCrooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
Series: Six of Crows #2 (2/2)
Published by Orion Children’s Books on September 27, 2016
Genres: [Young Adult] Fantasy
Pages: 536
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books a Million

4 Stars, Completed October 16, 2016

– read bold text only to avoid major SPOILERS –

Oh my gosh, I’m a little horrified that I waited over a year to finally write this review…

Crows remember human faces. They remember the people who feed them, who are kind to them. And the people who wrong them too. They don’t forget. They tell each other who to look after and who to watch out for.

Crooked Kingdom is the second and final installment to the Six of Crows duology. Kaz and his crew have just pulled a deadly heist. Instead of becoming wealthy and free after the mission as they had hoped, they find themselves scrambling to survive after been double crossed. It doesn’t help that they’re missing a member and strong forces are making a move on Ketterdem for the secrets of the dangerous drug jurda parem. But Kaz has a plan, and the team won’t stop until they get their revenge and redemption.

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Bookshelf Tour (May 2018)

Hi there! I’ve really, really slacked off this past year and haven’t been been blogging. Aside from book reviews, one of my favorite posts to share in the past were my book hauls. (Shameless plug: I do most of my hauls though my Instagram story these days though!) Anyway, I think my last one was around this time of the year, and I sort of miss doing them! And since there’s no way I can recall all the books I’ve bought in the last 365 days… I decided to share an updated bookshelf tour (which will just show all of my books – new and old) instead. Now that I think about it, my last tour was from early 2017 so this was probably overdue anyway. Also since my last bookshelf post, I actually unhauled a bunch (like 100 books). I’ll also include a picture of those but I have the titles turned away from the camera; mainly because it was for an Instagram photo and I can’t retake it now because I’ve since given away those books. :’) But yeah! That’s all I have for this preface. I hope you guys like the pictures! (Feel free to enlarge the photos by clicking on them.)

P.S. Everything, for the most part, is by genre and then split into subgenres. However, the manga section is alphabetical, with all the Hayao Miyazaki works in “H” and Makoto Shinkai works in “M.”

P.P.S. Also, not pictured are ones I have out on my desk (TID series, Queen of Shadows, The Shape of Water, and Almost Impossible)

the unhauled

schwab / magic / immortals / necromancy

ya high fantasy / fae / badass females fantasy

marine / angels / fairy tales / some fae

some hp / shadowhunters / vampires

shapeshifters / animals / grishaverse / harry potter

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Summing It Up: March 2018

Hello, hello! Happy April! 🙂

Okay… so those promised book reviews never did happen, huh? Turns out I put the wrong year since a lot of them were drafts originally created in 2017. Sigh. (That is proof of how rusty I am with the whole (book) blogging routine, haha.) Anyway, I took them down for the moment and don’t plan to reschedule them just yet since I want to re-edit them at least once more… and since April is a heavy exam month… those aren’t going to go live anytime soon, unfortunately. (I have hopes for May though!) :’)

Anyway, time for the recap! March was a meh month for lack of better words. A lot was going on in my life but I felt like I was wading through water since it also felt like I wasn’t really accomplishing much of anything. I didn’t do so hot on several exams that month so my spirits were kind of low. (And I’m trying to recover my grades in those two particular classes-looks like I’ll be working extra hard in April so I might not even be as active on my Instagram. I had plans of actually trying to limit my use with that app to twice daily anyway since I felt like I becoming too dependent. LOL, this makes it sound like a drug addict. XD)

But the good news is… I started reading again! I began marathoning the greatly popular fantasy series, Throne of Glass. The first few installments (particularly book 2, Crown of Midnight) wowed me because I, honestly, wasn’t expecting to enjoy this series after some criticisms that I had heard with Maas’s stories and characters prior to picking the series up. To my relief, as I said, I quite liked them… that is until I got to Heir of Fire and Queen of Shadows. The later drove me nuts because I was so mad with a certain character’s characterization and development (or lack of) and I have it on a temporary hold so that I can solely focus on school (and calm down after that traumatic turnaround mid-series).

But yeah, (I didn’t realize that I said this so much until people commented about it on my Instagram stories, haha.) that was an abridged version of my March!

– What I Read –

I could have easily finished Queen of Shadows by the end of March to include in last month’s “read” list since I’m nearly done… but, as mentioned before, I’m taking a break since that sequel is vastly disappointing and I kind of need to prioritize school first. (I’m literally on the brink of not passing Pharmacotherapy II with a C. It is that bad, to my dismay. T_T)

Anyway want some initial thoughts? Literally:

Me while reading Crown of Midnight

Me while reading Queen of Shadows

I feel so betrayed right now. Sigh.

– March Blog Posts –

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Summing It Up: February 2018

Hello there! I hope you’re all having a splendid March so far. I’m currently on my spring break and thought today would be a good time to release February’s monthly recap post. (Also, I know I keep making empty blogging promises but I DEFINITELY will have book (and manga!) reviews coming this month-I guarantee these will happen because I’ve actually already have them scheduled to publish on their own.)

I didn’t read all that much in February. However, I did participate in my first readathon (on Instagram)! The #ForeverReading 24 hour reading challenge (hosted by Cherry @_forevermint and Lissa @rabidreadings) was interesting since I was documenting my progress in the form of Insta stories. (I’ve always thought that if I’d ever join these reading marathons it would be via the blogosphere, so this was unexpected, haha.) I had a really good time though, and it was a positive experience  since the rules were flexible. In total, I was able to read nearly 400 pages of A Court of Wings and Ruin despite still getting a full night’s rest, working part time, and meeting with my friends from out of town for a long brunch. In my stories (which is still up as part of my Instagram Highlights by the way, if you do want to check those videos out. I believe you can only see view them if you’re using the app on your phone though) I talked about my thoughts on ACoWaR, the book itself. ACoWaR‘s a kind of meh read and I didn’t find myself enjoying it as I did its predecessor, A Court of Mist and Fury. As of where I left off (which is about halfway), I’d say it would get 2 out of 5 stars from me. For now, I don’t have interest in picking it up so I’ve put it on hold until further notice.

– February Blog Posts –

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Summing It Up: January 2018

I just posted my wrap up for December a couple of days ago so it feels sort of funny posting this one today, but if I don’t do it now who knows when I’ll do it. (I’ve been a very bad blogger, sigh.)

– January Events –

January was a wonderful month for me. I was ready to start the new year since 2017 seemed kind of rotten. January 2 marked my three year blogiversary with this blog; although, I’m not the blogger I used to be that would post 7-10 times a month… I feel very fulfilled and proud that I was able to post at least once a month for those three years. That month, I also came to decision that I would be continuing this blog and accepting the fact that my blogging may be more sparse and sporadic; the frequency dwindles down to if I feel inspired or motivated to post when I do.

I also celebrated my 22nd birthday, which is crazy. This has been the year where I have had the most correspondence with bloggers outside of the blogosphere. I use Instagram a lot and I feel like I’ve really gotten to know people personally more that way. In fact, there are more than a handful of bloggers that I talk to almost every day or at least several times a week through that platform or Goodreads. I even write letters and text some of those friends. I don’t know. It really blows my mind how close I have become to some of you all.

As for school, I’m back for the spring semester. The students have already hit the ground running and we have lots of work. I’m already nervous for my summer rotation in June because there’s already so much material that I feel like I need to retain. I’m not complaining though but I know that this semester is going to be tough, for sure.

And that’s January in a nutshell. Overall, I’d classify it as one of the better months and already a bright start to the new year.

– What I Read –

Tsubaki-chou Lonely Planet (full manga series) | Hatsu*Haru (full manga series)

Tsubaki-chou Lonely Planet’s lovely art. ❤

I was reading a bunch of books in January (Shadowsong, Tempests and Slaughter, The Bear and the Nightingale, and The Emperor of Maladies) but, ultimately, put a lot of them hold and finished only two manga series, Tsubaki-chou Lonely Planet and HatsuHaru. (The only one I’m still continuing to read into February is Maladies, if you’re curious.)  Both of them are still ongoing but I read up to the most updated chapters that were available online. The mangaka, or author/illustrator, of TLP is the same one that wrote Daytime Shooting Star, a series I read and greatly enjoyed last year. Mika Yanamori’s art style is so pretty; it’s definitely one of my favorites. The story of this one is extremely similar to Daytime Shooting Star but I didn’t mind since it still had some originality. Plus, I like the sensei in this one way more, actually. (How can a 2D character be this hot, omg?) For HatsuHaru, it doesn’t have many chapters released yet, just a mere 5 chapters. However, it’s proven to be a good start so far.

– January Blog Posts –

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Summing It Up: December 2017

Looks like I’m squeezing this in in the last hour of January. XD I really have to do better with these wrap ups. (Although, it does reassure me a little bit that I’ve already started drafting January’s recap, so hopefully I won’t publish that one as late as I did with this.)

Anyways, for December, I’m going to have to admit I was extremely burned out, stressed, and bummed. It may not seem like it because I try to conceal it with my internet persona, but I’m honestly a natural worrier and quite a pessimist. This semester has been challenging. Overall, I did well academically but I had to work really hard, and, subsequently, I started having really bad bouts of insomnia. But I am glad that I managed to survive, and it does feel nice to say that I’m (now a little over) halfway through the didactic curriculum of pharmacy school. There is only three semesters left of classes and an additional year after that for P4 rotations. Somehow time feels as if it’s moving both slow and fast. Slow because I’m looking forward to graduating (even though it still a long two years away) and fast because… well time is moving fast. (Like, how is it already February?)

However, I did also have a restful second half of December when I was on my winter break. (We had three weeks off this year, which is one week shorter than in the past. The undergrad students at my university still had a full month, and I might feel slighted by this even now actually, haha.) But, unfortunately, during the holiday season I also learned of devastating news. If you follow me on my Instagram, you probably already know that I was really affected by SHINee‘s Jonghyun‘s passing last month. Though not formally diagnosed, I feel like I have been depressed at some points in my life. And if not depression, they were moments where I’ve felt lost, sad, unhappy, or all of the above. Music has always been an important, integral part of my everyday life (whether it be playing the piano or listening to music), and both Linkin Park and SHINee were bands that have helped heal me during times when I was insecure and/or dark. I guess what I’m trying to say is that it was hard losing both Chester and Jonghyun, both wonderful artists, to a silent killer in 2017. It’s difficult to accept the reality that they’re gone forever.

Anyway, I don’t want to start this recap too somber from me being stressed with school and then Jonghyun, etc, so I also want to mention that I’ve definitely have been feeling a lot better and I don’t want anyone to worry about me.

– What I Read – 

The Water Dragon’s Bride (full manga series) | The Cruel Prince | Horimiya (full manga series)

 

 

December was a rather good reading month, I think. I started the month with beginning a new manga series called The Water Dragon’s Bride. I’ve only read up to the most recent chapter, which is 17, and I think it’s a bit cliché but still okay so far. I’ve set it as 3 or 3.5 stars on Goodreads, but I’m going to reserve my full thoughts for now. Then I read The Cruel Prince, which I loved and raved about a ton on my Instagram the end of last month and early this month in January. And, lastly, Horimiya was the one I picked up at whim and I was so glad that I did since it’s utterly fantastic. There’s a perfect balance between comedy and romance. I may have belly laughed out loud so many times while reading it. It is also currently an ongoing series and I’ve read up to chapter 85. Without a doubt, it’s become a new all time favorite manga that I’ll be following closely with each chapter/volume release.

– December Blog Posts – 

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Goodbye 2017 + 2018 Resolutions + 3 Year Blog Anniversary + Giveaway

Edit 1/28/18: I’m so sorry, guys, I haven’t had a chance to reply to the comments on this post and choose the giveaway winner just yet. I promise to do it by the 2nd of February at the latest though. Thanks for understanding!

Happy 2018, friends! It feels strange typing this because where did 2017 go? Last year was totally a blur to me. XD

From the title, it’s safe to assume that I’ll be packing a lot in this one post. I’ve been so out of blogging that I completely forgot how it’s tradition for me to post a lot in the beginning of the year (with my new year resolutions post, blogiversary post, monthly recap, etc). I guess I lost track of time and didn’t account for all that, so I’m going to have to settle with a long post this time around instead.

Believe it or not, today marks three years of blogging for me! I started Xingsings on January 2, 2015 and, to be honest, I never thought that it would be around for this long. Anyway, I want to sincerely say thank you all for the love and support that I’ve gotten over the years. I’ve met so many wonderful people and created irreplaceable friendships through this platform. I really could not be more grateful.

While on this subject, I should share my decision on whether I want to continue this blog or not since I did promise an answer to this. After talking to some close friends of mine (both from the blogosphere and outside of it), I think I might continue after all. (Man, I feel like this “should I or shouldn’t I?” debate pops up every year around this time for me and I always decide to go on.)

I should also mention that the biggest factor that made me consider quitting the blog in the first place. I’m not going to lie, my lack of replying to comments and blog hopping last year made me feel horrible. When I think about how little I interacted with other bloggers it made me feel very guilty. I don’t know how to describe it but I felt underserving of the response I got towards my posts.  I’m not encouraging or saying that I have a “comment for comment” mentality exactly but I genuinely like keeping up with friends that keep up with me and I felt bad when I couldn’t.

Anyway, 2018 is going to be the year where I want to change this. Another one of my new year’s resolutions is actually to just blog more in general. Somehow, I’ve managed to at least blog once a month since the beginning of this blog but I want to go back to writing more book reviews because that’s probably the part I miss the most about book blogging, aside from the blog hopping and interacting with others.

Speaking of book blogging… I think it’s time for me to shift my focus away from being just a book blog. My main focus will probably still and always be about books, but I’m ready to expand the non-bookish side of Xingsings this year, by incorporating posts like product reviews (like my bookish/literary candles), more Asian drama and anime/manga reviews, and maybe even some planner/hobonichi/bullet journaling and crafting posts. I guess whatever inspires me!

I know in the years past I’ve “reviewed” and reflected the previous years goal’s, but I sort of failed epically in the reading and blogging portions of my 2017 resolutions. (Actually, the only portion I did seem to fulfill completely was the career/academic aspirations. But, I suppose this isn’t a bad thing since those were the most important.) Therefore, I won’t be doing a reflection on last year’s goals in this blog post. :’)

And that’s really all I have to share with this post for now. I have book reviews, a long overdue book haul, and a December wrap up in the works so until those posts, see you next time! 🙂

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Summing It Up: November 2017

Sigh, I am 24 days late with this post but I suppose it’s a good thing that I’m finally getting around to it than never at all. (I’ve not mentioned this before but I’ve made this silly promise to myself since I’ve started this blog in 2015 that I would always at least post once a month; and so far, I’ve been good with that vow.) But it still feels kind of moot to post this now when I’ll be sharing my December wrap up in a few days, but I hope that you all don’t mind anyway! >.<

Unfortunately, like my sparse blogging I hit an all time low with my reading last month in November. I didn’t read a single book-not even a manga. (Well aside from my four chapters of ReLife, an ongoing webtoon that is posted weekly.) Subsequently, due to this slumpy reading period, I’ve felt a lack of motivation or inspiration to log onto WordPress and blog. (I didn’t even have a chance to draft a Yallfest post like I promised. I’m sorry!)

To be honest… for the past few months… I have truly struggled and debated with deciding what I plan to do with this blog anymore. I feel like blogging isn’t quite the same for me as it used to be. The community has changed a lot from when I started. A lot of the friends that I befriended at the beginning are on hiatuses or no longer blogging at all. Although I would love to meet new bloggers I feel like my enthusiasm to blog hop has waned a ton. There’s also the problem that I haven’t even been reading all that much, too… I have started to read more again this month in December while I’ve been on winter break (especially after reading The Cruel Prince, which is brilliant by the way), but, I don’t know if this is enough for me to continue.

Anyway, I’m not sure what will become of Xingsings for now. But I do want to make a decision by the first of 2018 about whether I’m going to continue to blog or say goodbye permanently, at least on this platform. At the moment, I’m leaning towards continuing because I feel like I’ve invested so much into this blog over the years (even though it may seem like I haven’t lately); just thinking about saying goodbye is so hard.

Either way, whatever I decide to do in 2018, thank you guys for all the love and support you’ve shown me throughout the years. The friendships I’ve made on here have been irreplaceable and for that I am so, so thankful.

– November Blog Posts –

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Summing It Up: October 2017

Happy November, friends! I hope that you all have been doing well. After I finish typing this post and it goes live, I will be replying to comments and (finally!) blog hopping the rest of the evening. (I seriously bookmarked blogs from, like, five months ago.)  And while on the subject of drafting blog posts, this is actually my 200th one! :’)

The next coming weeks should be like the calm before the storm (because school will lighten up a bit since final exams are in December) but I also have lots to look forward to. I’ll be attending Yallfest again this year, and I actually have my fingers crossed that I’ll be meeting Cassandra Clare and Marie Rutkoski. Clare will probably be a wristband author with her books’ popularity so I’m not sure if I’ll be able to see her, but we’ll see. Anyway, do expect an event recap for that later this month. 😉

Also, it’s not much longer before I’m off for winter break. This semester flew by so quickly and was probably one of the most stressful ones I experienced academically (pharmacotherapy is very challenging; I wish medicine and therapy were black and white but there’s so much gray), but I’m praying that I’ll survive till the end, haha.

Anyhow this month’s recap will be on the short but sweet side, because I really didn’t indulge in too much aside from the crazy shopping. And I suppose this is a good moment to put in a self promo plug like last month… If you do want to see my hauls and keep up with me (since I’m kind of inactive in the blogosphere nowadays), Instagram is the best way to do it! XD

– What I Read –

I’ve been feeling really slumpy in terms of reading so I picked up a manga called House of Sun (3/5 Stars) in October. I finished all 13 volumes in a week. I think the best aspects of the series was the romance and family. Also the comedy was A+; Daiki, my favorite character, was so deadpan about everything and therefore absolutely hilarious. I really wanted to buy this after reading it online but, to my dismay, the series has yet to be released in English aside for the electronic version. (And I don’t see the point in collecting e-manga when these books are so expensive as it is.) I’ll add it to my list to purchase for the future though. It was such a joy to read-despite my relatively low rating.

Edit 11/4/17: Oh my gosh, I totally forgot that I also read They Both Die at the End (4/5 Stars) earlier in October as well. It wasn’t until I logged onto Goodreads did I notice it on my profile. You guys now know to what extent of how out of it I am with my reading game. I can’t believe I forgot what I read, and a 4 star book at that, lol. XD

– October Blog Posts –

No surprise here. I’m still publishing once a month on the blog. >.< But hopefully this will change when I’m on winter break December-January.

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Summing It Up: September 2017

Gosh is this belated… But better late than never, right?

Life in September was the usual in that it was hectic, busy, and stressful, but I’ve decided to not bore you guys with the details because it’ll be just repetitive at this point. I feel as if I always begin my monthly wrap ups saying my life is crazy, and I feel bad doing this because I’m sure you’re all living just as busy lives. Anyway, if you do want to see what I’ve been up to with all the specifics, do consider following me on my Instagram account. I’m rather active on that platform these days and I enjoy updating my Instagram stories a lot. (You’ll even get to hear and see me flail over buying new books. It’s embarrassing but I thought I’d advertise it anyway, hah.)

Anyhow, I do sincerely hope and wish that you guys are all still doing well and hanging in there in your daily lives. #don’tgiveup #youCANdoit

(I think I’m feeling especially emotional while typing this up because a fellow grad student at my school recently died from suicide this month in October. I don’t want to talk about this either because I feel like it’ll bring down the mood of this post even more. But please, everyone, remember to take care of yourself! You’re not alone. Seek help if you need it. I’m always here to talk. Shoot an email or send me a direct message on Instagram.)

– What I Read –

A few months ago, when school first started back up I remember complaining about reading 1 book… but now I’m starting to realize that completing 1 book a month might be a miracle. The rigor of this year’s classes has definitely increased (PCT (pharmacotherapy) is so killer) and I guess I’m resigned to the fact that I’m going to have to read less during this period of my life. It is sad but it could be worse? XD

And it’s unfortunate that the one book I did end up finishing last month… I was not a fan. You can read my thoughts in my Goodreads pre-review or unedited review or whatever it’s called, but yeah,  Believe in a Thing Called Love did not work for me, sadly. (And I really want to love it; I mean, you all know how much of a crazed Asian drama watcher I am.)

– September Blog Posts –

I’m not sure why I’m still keeping this section if I’m only going to post once a month, but oh well. Maybe I’ll feel more motivated to publish some book review drafts if I do continue, haha. Who knows?

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