Monday, 29 February 2016

The Copper Gauntlet by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare

The Copper Gauntlet by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare

This. Book. Is. INTENSE!

So in the end of the first book, Call discovered who he really is. Now, he has to hide what and who he is from his friends and Masters at the academy. Despite all that, his father is trying to kill him and death zombies are trying to kidnap him. When you think nothing else could possibly go wrong, your best friend betrays you and now the whole magical institute is looking for your dad to kill him. Yep, it's a handful. 

In this book, you can really see how much Call personality has changed and grow after knowing who is his. You get to feel the dilemma and doubt that Call has after everything that happened to him. For a young teenage boy, he is really brave, funny, and so down to earth. You also can see how much his relationship with his friends has grown. Their bonds are literally like Harry Potter, Herminia, and Ron, or like Jace and Alec. 

The ending of the book was both very heroic and smart. Call did something that he knew was going to kill him but he also knew if he didn't do it, everyone else will die. But the ending isn't the ending. Even though the war was over between the people and the Enemy of Death, there's still demons out there: demons that will stop at nothing to dim the light of good and lit the life of evil. 

hugs and kisses

Sunday, 28 February 2016

The Iron Trail by Cassandra Clare and Holly Black

The Iron Trail by Cassandra Clare and Holly Black

Another round of applause to Cassandra Clare for drowning me in her sea of words. I am obsessed with Cassandra Clare's writing. I know in this book series, she is writing it with Holly Black but as you read the book, you can sense a lot of Clare's style and imagination. After living in her mind space for more than 10 books, you will know what that lady is thinking and how she writes. 

This book reminds me a little bit of Percy Jackson, some Harry Potter, and Clare's new book Shadowhunter Academy. It's about a boy, Call, who lives in this magical world where people can do tricks and play around with magic using the elements of earth, fire, water, and air. However, not everything is rainbows and unicorns. Call's father did not want Call to attend the magical school where they teach them powers and how to control them. He said that magic was evil; it killed Call's mother and it will kill Call too. That was not the end of the story. Long ago, there was two brothers, one became more powerful than the other. The powerful one became the leader and the brother became his assistance. They were a pair, like parabatai if you will. One day the brother died and the stronger brother wanted to bring him back to life. This leads him to a dark tunnel of evil and becoming the Enemy of Death. The academy and everyone was fighting this Enemy of Death for years because he was not only trying to bring people back to life but also breaking the rules of death. People who were brought back to life wasn't living; their souls were empty and they hearts were dark.

For years, people have been trying to find the Makar, a person who can defeat the Enemy and for years, they have failed, until Call came along. Call not only was able to learn more about magic and the history of his parents, he was able to learn who is really is and what he really was. Suddenly, his innocent, young life becomes a cloud of secrets and lies.

You will not believe how fast I read this book. It's just something about Clare's writing that can make you forget time, forget reality, and even your life. no joke. You can feel as if you are in the story. It is so easy to read, maybe because it was so interesting that you would not want to put the book down, and it was very challenging. There's a lot of friendship bond, action, secrets. All the juices you want in a good book ! Officially crowning Cassandra Clare the queen of fantasy writer. 

hugs and kisses

Sunday, 21 February 2016

The Indian Family Kitchen

The Indian Family Kitchen

It was right on time ! I was frustrated because I was desperate to find a vegan burger recipe. Then, with my luck, the delivery man knocked on my door and I received this book !

It's not exactly 100% vegan but mostly they are all plant base.Even for the non-vegans one, I can simple switch the meat product to tofu or any other plan base substitute. The recipes are all very simple, with few ingredient and a lot of spices to flavor them. If spices are something hard for you to get a hold of then it might be a problem, but if you have all the access to spices then this book is worth experimenting with. 

What I love about cookbooks is their pictures because a picture speaks a thousand words, right? the pictures made me crave some curry and some yellow rice. It's beautiful!

As I read through the pages of the cookbook, I found what I was looking for this whole time, a vegan burger ! That was not the only thing that excites me, the recipe was so simple and so easy to make. You literally don't need any expensive gadgets or out of the world ingredients.

Spicy Bean Burger:


2 tbsp vegetable oil (any oil you like or water if you prefer)
2 tsp cumin seed
3 scallions, finely sliced
2 garlic, roughly chopped
1 fresh chili, finely chopped
1 tsp paprika
14 oz mix bean, boiled and roughly mashed
2 tbsp cilantro, roughly chopped
2 tbsp chives, roughly chopped
pinch of salt and pepper
4 burger buns


1. On a hot pan, drizzle water or oil and add in the cumin seed.
2. When they start to sizzle, stir in the scallion, garlic, and chili and allow them to fry for 30 seconds before sprinkling the paprika.
3. Add a little more water, when all of the water has evaporated, pour the mixture into the mashed beans in a large bowl. 
4. Add in the cilantro, chives, salt, and pepper. Then mix them well. 
5. Form a burger shape with the mixture. Pop them in the fridge for 30 minutes of you have time.
6. The original recipe said to grill them on a pan but I find that it's totally okay to bake them in the oven for 20-30 minutes at 400 degrees. 
7. Once done, let them cool before assembling your burger. 

Once again, it's so simple and easy to make. I will definitely be making this in every weekend and at every even in the future. It's simple, easy, and ridiculously delicious.

hugs and kisses

Saturday, 20 February 2016

EAT NAKD Caffe Mocha

EAT NAKD Caffe Mocha 

I was so excited for this bar since the day I go it! I am A HUGE tea person and I do not drink coffee, but I love anything coffee flavored, cakes, muffins, cookies, icings, brownies, ANYTHING! This bar blew my mind! It literally tastes like a coffee brownie. It's not too sweet and not too bitter. When you first bite into it, it's a little tangy, then it's sweet, then it turns a little bitter. 

This bar is very solid and firm on the outside but the inside it was moist and very surprisingly smooth. Just like a brownie!

Look at it man!

Okay, so Eat Nakd bar is not just a bar for me now, it's like a treat ! They are so flavorful, a great to-go snack, healthy dessert bar, and have great variety of flavor for everyone.

If you are a coffee person but have not tried this bar yet, you are missing out. It's decadent, rich, and full of coffee flavor. 

I cannot wrap my head around how healthy these bars are but still so delicious.

This bar is:
  • Suitable for dairy free diets
  • Free from saturated and trans fats
  • Suitable for vegans
  • Kosher
  • Wheat and gluten free
  • GMO free
  • Deliciously simple! Made with just dates (55%), cashew nuts (26%), raisins (12%), cocoa (6%) and natural flavourings

Typical values                per 35g bar
Energy                             130kcal
Protein                                3g
Carbohydrate                     18g
(of which sugars)               17g
Fat                                        5g
(of which saturates)              1g
Fibre                                     3g
Sodium                                 0.1g

hugs and kisses

Friday, 19 February 2016

How to be an Active Listener

How to be an Active Listener

Listening and hearing are two different things! Listening takes work and is an active process. Hearing is only sound wave vibrating through your ears. 

Ever feel like you can never have a good conversation with someone? You feel that the more you talk to them, the more you become strangers. Well, instead of trying to fix them, why not look at what you can fix on. Here are some things you are doing wrong as a listener:

1.  Pseudolistening : You are fake listening to them. (We all do that when our mom nags us, admit it)
2.  Defensive listening: You are listening to them because you feel that everything they say is a judgment on you so you're listening to defend yourself and to catch them so that you can fire back. 
3.  Selective Listening: you are only listening to parts of what they are saying that you are interested in.
4.  Stage hogging: you only listen to them because you want to find a chance to slip in and talk about you instead.
5.  Multi tasking: you are doing something else as they talk.

So how to be a good listener?

To be a good and active listener :
1. Do not interrupt
2. Do not judge
3. Use non-verbal
4. Paraphrase (Based on content or emotion WITHOUT adding new words to what the person said)
5.     Focus on them. 

Ways to paraphrase: 

Hey, from what you told me, you said (describe what you hear, it must be a fact, exactly what they say, not what you feel). To me, you sounded like/ I don't know whether (your opinion 1) or (your opinion 2). Am I right?

For example: 

Hey, when I said I do not know how to do the science project after you asked me about it, you said (Intro) “Forget about it” (context). It sounded to me like you were angry at me or are you stress over the work. (Feelings). What is going on? (Question) 

This can avoid you feeling bad about them being angry at you or feeling mad at them for being angry at you when you are not sure if they are really angry at you or not. Maybe she is just stressed, or maybe she had a bad day, or maybe she is sick. So always ask!


 So you are saying that you feel sad because you could not make it to the game tonight. Is that correct?

Always get clarification. This will allow the person to know that you are actually listening and it might also help you understand what they are saying better. Maybe something they said is not what you think they said. 

This is only the first few steps to be an active listener. I have been practising this for months now and it really helped me build a stronger relationship with people I am talking to and it also got me out of a lot of trouble with misunderstandings. The steps might seem simple and a no brainer but it's hard to actually perform it and not go back into multitasking or selective listening when that is what we always do and has become a habit.

You may think you know a person but really what you see is only the surface of what they feel. 

Ask, talk, but most importantly, listen. 

hugs and kisses

Monday, 15 February 2016

Eat Nakd Toffee Treat

Eat Nakd Toffee Treat 

Firstly, please excuse my poor skills of making a GIF, I'm still learning. Secondly, I was really excited to try these nibbles because I heard a lot of good stuff about them.

Sadly, I didn't enjoy them as much as I liked. It's true when they say "hope but don't expect." 
Don't get me wrong, these little cute bites are good and I find myself eating the whole bag with no thoughts. However, they do have a little medicine-like after taste. It is soft and chewy, which is very surprising.

These are seriously adorable and it's a great snack to grab on the go.

They are:

  • ​Dairy free
  • Wheat and gluten free
  • Vegan friendly
  • Kosher Approved
  • Low in saturated fats
  • Free from added sugar
  • GMO Free
  • Deliciously simple! Made with Dates (50%), Cashews (23%), Raisins (18%), Cocoa (5%) Rice Flour and Natural Flavoring

Typical values             per 40g
Energy                         139kcal
Fat                                 4.8g
Carbohydrate                21.6g
(of which sugars)           19g
Fibre                               1.9g
Protein                             3g

hugs and kisses

Sunday, 14 February 2016

Girl Online by Zoe Sugg

Girl Online by Zoe Sugg

Noah is funny, spontaneous, and loving. He is the type of guy you wish for on 11:11 and the definition of the modern Prince Charming. Penny is innocent, lucky, and very down to Earth. She is someone you would want to be or someone you would want in your life because she can just make you laugh.

In this book, Penny suffers from anxiety since she got into a car accident with her parents. Elliot, her best friend who lives next door, is the only one who knows about this. Penny decides to start an anonymous blog to write down her feelings and to be free. The blog worked ! Through the blog, she is able to express herself and also finds people facing similar issues. She feels connected, normal, and okay.

Penny is also a very good photographer. So one day, the school play asked her to take pictures. She got on stage to take the whole cast photo but fell and it was such an embarrassing moment for her. Soon, the video of her falling and crawling off stage went live on the internet. She is devastated but what made it even worst is the fact that it was her best friend since secondary school, Megan, who posted the video.

For Christmas, Penny's parents are going to New York to organize a wedding so it was a little escape for Penny, too. Since Penny's brother, Tom, who in fact is the most loving and thoughtful brother anyone could ever wish for, did not want to go, Elliot goes with Penny.

At New York, Penny bumps into Noah, a charming, good looking, and funny guy. They end up spending the whole day together and things happen, feelings changed, and connections sparked.

When Penny's little escape trip comes to an end, she is ready to say goodbye to Noah but only because she knows that they will surely see each other again.

When she got back home, things changed, secrets are spilled, and Penny knows her relationship with Noah will never be the same again.

This book was a fast and easy read. It was very touching and funny. I love Zoe, I think she is such an amazing person with such amazing personality. This book really reflected her in a way that her views can understand and recognize. I keep imagining Penny as Zoe in many cases.

I know there's a lot of people saying that Zoe did not write this book herself and that there's a ghostwriter. Yes, I am a little disappointed that she didn't write it herself but No, you cannot say she didn't put in effort to finish this book. I mean, if you know Zoe, she has anxiety, she is a good photographer, and she has a blog where she write all her feeling, thoughts, and ideas. This book is like Zoe's life story in fictional form. Marcus has a book about himself, Taylor Oakley has a book about his life too, and so many other Youtuber. Zoe was just bringing out her creativity and writing her life story in a fictional form. She loves writing, she loves being true to herself, and I believe she worked equally as hard as the writer to finish this book.

The message in this book was not only to get out of your comfort zone and fight your anxiety but also to not send hate though social media. If you have nothing nice to say, it's better not to be said. Zoe addressed at the end of her book that being mean and rude to other people online is never okay and it's never nice. You may be seeing their video or reading their blog post but you do not know them entirely. One video of them is only 10 minutes of their 24 hour life. One blog post is only a ruler long of their thoughts.

hugs and kisses,

Saturday, 13 February 2016

Shadowhunter Academy

Shadowhunter Academy 

If you love Simon in Clare's book, then you will fall in love with him again in this book.

Simon. He is smart, funny, innocent, and just the kind of guy you would want to spend your whole life with. He is also the kind of guy you wish you could punch sometimes to shake some sense out of him. In the last book of Mortal Instrument series, Simon gave up his memories to a demon in order for Clary, Jace, Izzy, Alex, and Magnus to go back to the human world. Once he got back, Clare didn't get to see him and his life went back to normal as if he and Clare never met. Clare was heartbroken, even more so with Izzy. When Magnus and Clare went to find Simon again after the big battle with Sebastian was over, they found out that he named his band "Shadowhunter," which obviously means he remembers some part of it, right? I mean it's Simon he is a curious little beast.

So Magnus got this idea of letting Simon into the shadow world again and give him back his memories by being a shadowhunter. 

So Simon agreed. In this book, it's all about Simon going to the Shadowhunter Academy, learning how to be a shadowhunter, and hopefully be able to find a parabatai. Throughout the book, you will want to hug him because he just seems like a lost puppy without his memories but sometimes you will also want to punch him because of what he says to Izzy. He breaks up with Izzy because he says he can never be the Simon she remembers because he has forgotten who that Simon was. He says that it isn't right for him to let her wait till he gets his memories back and wants Izzy to move on.

Throughout his journey to be a shadowhunter, he lives in a nasty dorm, makes new incredible loyal friends and even some not so great ones, he also learns many skills and the history of the Shadowhunters. Most importantly, he gets to rediscover who he is and what he wants to be. He might never be the same Simon in the past that everyone remembers, but his is not less incredible now and I think everyone loves him regardless.

It's a soul grabber. It's a very short book but full of content and excitement. After this book, it's even harder to not love Simon and the Shadow world that Clare has created. It's both amazing and remarkably magical. 

hugs and kisses

Friday, 12 February 2016

Pumpkin Rice Recipe (VEGAN)

Pumpkin Rice Recipe || Vegan


2 cups of uncooked rice (best use brown rice)
1/2 large pumpkin
Mushroom (as many or as little as you like)
Green beans (as many or as little as you like)
4 small red onions (usually found in china markets)
5-6 garlic cloves
Vegan oyster sauce
Low sodium soy sauce


1. To prepare: rinse the rice and chop the pumpkin into cubes. Also, cut the mushrooms into halves and the green beans into about 1-1/2 inch long.
2. On a hot pan, add in your garlic and onion, with some water or oil if you like. Mix them around till they are soft and a little brown.
3. Add in the mushroom into your pan and stir them around. Then, add in the green beans.
4. Next, add in the chopped pumpkin.
5. After stirring the around for a few minutes, add in the sauces and season it with salt and pepper.
6. Stir them around (there's a lot of stirring with this dish) and leave them to cook for around 5-6 minutes or until the green beans and mushroom are cooked.
7. Lastly, add in the uncooked rice. Mix the whole thing together.
8. Pour everything into a rice cooker and add some water, just like as if you were to cook rice. (Pour alot of water, basically until you see water about an inch above the rice)
9. Let the rice cooker do the magic and once it starts ringing your name, it's ready to eat!

hugs and kisses

Friday, 5 February 2016

Lucky Rice Cookbook

Lucky Rice

This book reminds me of my childhood grand dinner with my family. There're many Asian/Chinese entrees and well as desserts that have some modern twist to it.

Since I'm vegan, the recipes do not suit me. However, Chinese New Year is around the corner, so I think this will be the perfect gift for my mother. She loves cooking and would love to be inspired by some of the recipes in this book. Honestly, I, myself am inspired to try the recipe and making them vegan. Being vegan does not set restriction at all! All I have to do is replace meat with tofu, chicken broth with veggie broth, and fish sauce with vegan sauce. Vegan is so easy and with so many sources now available, it's not hard to veganize your dishes ! I would try to experiment the recipes and will keep you guys updated.

The book has a unique twist to traditional Chinese dishes that is simple, easy, and no doubt delicious.

hugs and kisses

Monday, 1 February 2016

Glass Sword [UPDATE]

Glass Sword 

The first book, Red Queen, got everyone excited for this book! Guys the fighting and the action in this book is real and so intense! 

After escaping from Maven, Mara and her "gang" are now off to hunt down some "newborns", people like Mara with Silver and Red blood and have abilities, before Maven kills them all. Along the journey, Mara learns one thing and that is anyone can betray anyone, even herself. She isolated herself and became a different person. To her, Mara died when Maven betrayed her, now, she is the Lightning Girl. Along the journey, she finds deadly powerful newborns but with one additional member to her gang, another one dies. Maven is playing the hunting game with them and killing everyone in his way. With more lost and more sacrifices, Mara grows bitter. When the bell of the final battle rings, will Mara make more sacrifices or will she finish the job?

The ending had all my hopes shattered to pieces. I cannot believe the ending. It's rather disappointing actually. I cannot tell you how many time I reread the ending, hoping each time it will be different. ARGH, the struggle is real. 

I also felt that the author was too caught up with wars and battles that she forgot to include some romance or some character-to-character bond in the book. Mara is overly obsessed with killing Maven that she forgets to stop and look around at the people who are fighting by her side, protecting her, and loving her. Although this book has many actions and adventures, from stealing a ship to releasing prisoners, it lacked the type of friendship or love between the characters. In conjunction to that, in this book, Mara was acting very isolated, she didn't trust anyone, not even herself sometimes, so it's all very dark and lonely to be in her mind for all the chapters till the end. 

This book will be out on February 16, 2016 so make sure you mark it on your calendar !

hugs and kisses