The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami

Set in World War II, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle is difficult to describe. It is surreal and psychedelic. It is mysterious and otherworldly. To indulge, you need to let yourself be carried away. It begins with a seemingly ordinary day in the life of a very ordinary man. But things only gets strange and stranger  as dreams spill into reality. The lines between natural and supernatural are blurred, a guy sitting deep down in a well digs into his subconscious: a boy’s personality is stolen by the devil, a miraculous blue mark on a cheek heals people. Unusual characters drift in, tell their unusual stories and leave.

Unfortunately, the end of the book was a rude awakening from the most wonderful dream, you never want to be over.

Amidst the complex, ethereal, Murakami addresses the themes of alienation, loneliness, an individual’s search for identity. He questions the national identity as well while exploring some horrifying stories about the second world war. Though Murakami leaves a lot of questions to be answered, but it takes your on a majestic journey. In a few places the prose is a bit too wordy and repetitious. May be it is a flawed masterpiece, but a masterpiece nonetheless.

by guest reviewer Megha

Read excerpts from the book here!

[Book Cover Design by Barbara Spanò]


From The Chronicle Review:

Madness and the Muse

We’re captivated by the idea of the troubled genius. But is it fiction?

(Illustrations of Virginia Woolf, Kurt Cobain, Ernest Hemingway and Beethoven by Meen Choi for The Chronicle Review)

oVertone Daily Color Depositing Conditioner: A Review

Recently I dyed my hair with Manic Panic Cotton Candy Pink and a bit of Hot Hot Pink mixed in for vibrancy. I was delighted with the outcome, but not looking forward to the upkeep (Manic Panic pinks tend to fade pretty quickly on me). Somehow I came across someone who was using the Overtone Pastel Pink to maintain their CCP hair and I was immediately intrigued. “The end of faded color” their website said. Ehhh. But then: “Cold showers not required.” Oh, yes. I am HERE. FOR. THIS. (If you don’t know, washing your hair in cold water is an essential part of maintaining “fantasy” hair colors. I can assure you that cold showers first thing in the the morning in the middle of winter are not even the tiniest bit of fun, and my friends, winter is coming.)

So here’s the deal. The conditioner comes in 9 different colors: silver, yellow, blue, green, teal, orange, red, purple, and pink. Each color comes in 3 different shades: Pastel, Vibrant, and Extreme. There’s the Daily Conditioner at $17 for 8oz, and the Go Deep Weekly Treatment at $28 for 8oz (the Extreme versions are both a dollar more). I was kind of put off at the price for the amount of product, but after reading all the reviews I could find, I decided to go for it. I ordered 2 bottles of the Daily Conditioner, one in Pastel Pink and the other in Vibrant Pink.

This what they look like out of the bottle (vibrant-r, pastel-l). Just like a basic creamy conditioner when you mix it with dye in order to dilute it. Also they smell strong, a real herbal-minty smell. It’s not terrible, I kind of like it, but some people may be put off by it.

This is my hair before the first time I used it. I had already washed my hair a couple of times after dying it, so it had faded a tiny bit, but I didn’t mind because I wanted to see if there was a difference after using the stuff for awhile. Basically, after washing your hair, you just massage a nice amount into your hair and let it sit for about 5 minutes, rinse and done. I’ve been using a mix of both the pastel and vibrant, alternating on which one I use more of. I’ve used it three times already and the first time, I used more pastel, the second time was equal parts and the third time I used more of the vibrant with a little bit of pastel and this is my hair today:

Not really a big difference BUT after three washes, even co-washing, this color would have faded SIGNIFICANTLY, and it appears to not have faded at all, and in fact is slightly more vibrant.

So what do I think? The stuff does what it says. It deposits the color you washed out right back into your hair and you’re left with fresh color until you stop using it or do your roots. I read some people had to wear gloves when applying it because it stained their hands, but I didn’t have that issue. Maybe for the extreme version, or a color like blue or purple, you would, but this was fine.

I think this would also be great for someone trying to change colors without actually going through the dye process, but only if you’re following the color wheel. Like for example, if I wanted to go purple, I’d start using the purple conditioner, or I could start using the orange to go coral. I would NOT however be able to go green from this.

If you have lighter hair, you also might be able to use it to give yourself a nice tint of color, depending on how light your hair is, and which shade of color you use.

If you have a certain shade of a color, like turquoise, you might have to mix a couple of colors, like blue and green or teal, and that can get rather complicated, so only do that if you feel comfortable. Also, I wouldn’t be using this if my hair was still rainbow. Way too complicated, and my mission was to keep my hair as uncomplicated as possible.

As a conditioner by itself, I’d say it’s probably not the best moisturizing conditioner I’ve ever used. I co-wash my hair, so it’s not really a huge deal to me, but if you use regular shampoo, you might want to use a sulfate and silicone free conditioner before or after slathering this stuff on (Suave Naturals in Coconut is my favorite, and Tresemme Naturals is also a good one).

It is a little on the pricey side, but I have short hair and I don’t wash my hair more than once or twice a week, so I could probably make it last. It’s really up to you if you think you can make it worth the price.

Do I recommend this product? If you’re lazy like me and hate cold showers, then yes, I’d say try it, definitely! I’m actually really happy with the results, I love that I can take a completely hot shower, and the price for product amount is worth it to me for everything I’m getting out of it.

Overtone conditioners are currently only available off their website || and they ship worlwide. They offer bundles of their Daily Conditioner in full and sample size and Weekly Treatment for $45 and if you’re not ready to make a commitment, they have 2oz sample sizes for $8.

If you guys have any questions or comments about this or another product or my hair care routine in general, feel free to shoot me an ask, and also let me know if you’d like to see me talk more about my favorite hair and beauty products! I love sharing cool new products that I love with people, so I really enjoyed writing this!

Books Everyone Should Read!

I’ve wanted to do this for ages, so here goes. These are some of the books/plays/poets that I think (this is just my opinion!) everyone should read before they die. If anyone wants to add to the list, then please do by commenting or reblogging!

Originally posted by blackewhitelover

Fantasy and/or Children’s Novels: 

  • The Harry Potter Series - J. K. Rowling. Anyone who knows me, knows that I will always love Potter, until the very end. 
  • The Lord of the Rings & The Hobbit - J. R. R. Tolkien.
  • The Chronicles of Narnia - C. S. Lewis.
  • The Percy Jackson Series - Rick Riordan. All of his books are great, not just this series, but the others too.
  • Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through The Looking Glass - Lewis Carroll.
  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (The Oz Books) - L. Frank Baum.
  • The Mortal Instruments Series - Cassandra Clare.
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events - Lemony Snicket.
  • The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett.
  • The Once & Future King - T. H. White. 

Dystopian and/or Utopian Novels: 

  • The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins.
  • The Maze Runner Trilogy - James Dashner. 
  • The Divergent Trilogy - Veronica Roth.

  • The Giver Quartet - Lois Lowry.
  • Lord of the Flies -  William Golding.

  • The Handmaid’s Tale -  Margaret Atwood.
  • The Road - Cormac McCarthy.

Gothic and/or Horror Novels:

  • Dracula - Bram Stoker.
  • The Beetle: A Mystery - Richard Marsh.
  • The Bloody Chamber - Angela Carter.
  • Frankenstein - Mary Shelley.
  • The Fall of the House of Usher & Other Writings - Edgar Allen Poe.
  • Interview with a Vampire - Anne Rice.
  • The Darren Shan Series - Darren Shan. 
  • Salem’s Lot - Stephen King.
  • Dreamcatcher - Stephen King.
  • The Shining - Stephen King.
  • Carrie - Stephen King. 

Young Adult and/or Influential Novels:

  • To Kill A Mockingbird - Harper Lee (I have Go Set A Watchman but I still need to read it!). 
  •  Oranges Aren’t The Only Fruit -  Jeanette Winterson.
  • The Catcher in the Rye - J. D. Salinger. 
  • The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini. 
  • The Virgin Suicides - Jeffery Eugenides. 
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower - Stephen Chbosky. 
  • All The Bright Places - Jennifer Niven. 
  • Attachments - Rainbow Rowell. 
  • Eleanor & Park - Rainbow Rowell.
  • Fangirl - Rainbow Rowell. 
  • Landline - Rainbow Rowell.
  • Carry On - Rainbow Rowell.
  • Looking For Alaska - John Green.
  • An Abundance of Katherines - John Green.
  • Paper Towns - John Green.
  • Will Grayson, Will Grayson - John Green & David Levithan. 
  • The Fault in Our Stars - John Green.
  • Me and Earl and the Dying Girl - Jesse Andrews. 

Crime and/or Thriller Novels: 

  • The Alex Rider Series - Anthony Horowitz.
  • The Cuckoo’s Calling -  Robert Galbraith (J. K. Rowling). 
  • The Silkworm -  Robert Galbraith (J. K. Rowling).
  • Career of Evil -  Robert Galbraith (J. K. Rowling).


  • The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald.
  • The Picture of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde.
  • Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen.
  • Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen.
  • Mansfield Park - Jane Austen.
  • Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte.
  • Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte.
  • Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck.
  • Great Expectations - Charles Dickens.
  • The Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck.
  • Moby-Dick; or, The Whale - Herman Melville.
  • Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens.
  • The Beach -  Alex Garland.

Plays (read them and if you can see a performance or two, there’s nothing like the theatre):

  • The Oresteia -  Aeschylus.
  • The Three Theban Plays - Sophocles.
  • The Odyssey - Homer. 
  • The Iliad - Homer. 
  • William Shakespeare’s Plays (these are just a few of my favourites!): 

Titus Andronicus.

Measure for Measure. 



A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

The Merchant of Venice.

As You Like It.

Twelfth Night.

  • The Duchess of Malfi - John Webster. 


  • William Blake’s Poetry - Literally one of my favourite poets. 
  • William Wordsworth’s Poetry.
  • War Poetry -  two of my favourites are Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon.
  • Sylvia Plath’s Poetry - C’mon, who hasn’t read her work?
  • Carol Ann Duffy - I love her. 

I think that’s all I have for now. I know I’m missing loads, but this is what I’ve been able to come up with so far. Also, just because she asked this is for the lovely @glide-thru, I read a lot :P

Out of all the books in this series, Winter is absolutely my favorite. I love Cinder and all, she’s a strong role model and an amazing character. But Winter’s character will always have a special place in my heart. She’s unbelievably kind and thoughtful, and the darkness that lives inside her is simply breathtaking. My favorite line in the book is the very last one. Its so profound and meaningful; “She held the foot over the water and let go.”

5 Things About Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

  1. Not for younger audiences
  2. I wish I had this talent
  3. Animal (errrr sort of) companions
  4. Terrifyingly Twisty Turns
  5. Interesting and unique powers

Rating: ★★★★★

Check out my full book review on Readers in Wonderland

More of Bec’s book thoughts: GR | IG | Twitter |  FB


The Lumatere Chronicles by Melina Marchetta
               Finnikin of the Rock, Froi of the Exiles, Quintana of Charyn
Publication Date (First Book): September 2008
Pages: -
Goodreads Rating (Average): 4.28 

Ten years ago, the country of Lumatere was put under a terrible curse barring the people who had fled the country in terror on the outside, and trapping those still inside within its borders. Finnikin of the Rock has traveled with his mentor and guardian, Sir Topher, to all the surrounding lands, meeting with other Lumateran exiles and petitioning countries for land to house said exiles. When a young woman claims to hear the voice of the lost prince Balthazar in her sleep, Finnikin will undertake a journey to reunite his kingdom.

The Lumatere Chronicles is an excellent and masterfully done high fantasy series. The trilogy has easily worked its way into my heart as one of the best series I’ve ever read with its incredible cast of characters, beautiful and emotional writing, a story that will break and heal your heart more times than I can count, and a rare social awareness. The stories in the Lumatere Chronicles are not just about the important players, like royalty, the hero, and a few minor characters, but about the people of the countries as a whole. It talks about refugees, the suffering of an entire people, the bonds among citizens in a country, the culture; it talks about the people of a country and their collective struggle for a better life in, something I think people in any nation can relate to as we always strive for improvement. This book has brilliant storytelling, with magic, curses, gods, religion, and fate, but more than that, it tells a story of more than the main characters, but of the struggles of many people and their determination to survive despite the odds. It’s beautiful, moving, and captures that essence better than most fantasy novels.

The characters are beyond my descriptive abilities. You will love them, you will hate them, you will feel their pain and joys, and travel with them as they struggle to find themselves and improve their nations. There are a plethora of strongly developed and wonderfully done characters, from Finnikin and Froi, two of the title protagonists, but also plenty of great female leads, from kind and determined to broken and feral. There are women who are strong by their gentle natures to those who will manipulate and lie to achieve something better. The entire cast of characters is so wide and diverse, and I fell in love with each and every one of them.

Marchetta’s writing is on point, you’ll know if you’ve ever had a chance to pick up her books. You can feel the emotion, the mood, just by the words she selects and the sounds and patterns she so artistically puts together. While I’ve read Jellicoe Road, and deeply admired its prose, for me, The Lumatere Chronicles takes that up a notch and really sets you into the story. I could praise these books for much, much longer, these gems among hundreds of fantasies you might read, but these ones will stick with you and become eternal favorites.

Rating: ★★★★★
5.00 stars

Purchase via Book Depository
(Finnikin of the Rock)
(Froi of the Exiles)
(Quintana of Charyn)

I’m just so impressed with the way Ms. Marchetta takes the concept of current sociopolitical realities and infuses them into her literature. This is something that drives me crazy about other fantasies–I know it’s fun to find out who will take the throne and everything, but what about the PEOPLE? Finnikin of the Rock is high fantasy with empathy. It’s high fantasy that mourns, rather than relishes mass slaughter. Where the realities of war are suffered and confronted, not glorified. It’s a little painful, but so beautiful. The experience of the people of Lumatere has nothing to do with magic, even if the story is propelled by the fantastical world. They are refugees, victims of sexual violence, orphans. Their experience is something that people around the world are experiencing today. And it’s a truly impressive fantasy novel that makes the reader feel not only for the characters, but for real, living people, in our world.
—  Rachel of Giant Squid Books reviews Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta [x]
Positive/Optimistic Shadowhunters Reviewers on Youtube

The following is a list of channels on YouTube that are not hating on the show and/or only focusing on/looking for the negatives. This is a list of people who yes, will acknowledge things they don’t like, but don’t just complain the whole time and instead open up a discussion about it. They also focus on what they do like in the show.

This list is subject to change and grow as more channels are discovered, so if you know of any additional channels, please send them to me so I can add them to the list.

Book Fans


Yvette Eclectic

QueenOfTeenFiction (she only reviewed the first and second episode as of making this post)

Novel Reality

Yvette Eclectic

Brigitte Cormier - Not as positive in the beginning, but she still enjoyed it and agrees that the show is improving.

Nicole Craswell - only reviewed the first 2 epiosdes

TheTruthAboutBooks - only reviewed episode 1

ahumblebooklover - only reviewed episode 1

renontheroad- only reviewed episodes 1 and 2 so far

thejordanjournals -only reviewed episode 1

penguininabluebox -only reviewed episodes 1 and 2

The Booktube Girl - only reviewed episodes 1 and 2

Canal Pandemonium - This is a Brazilian Channel. I didn’t get to check if their reviews are positive but @imagine–your–world said they mostly say nice things.

Unbiased Fans (aka those who watch the show but have not read the books):

Sher Nic

Both (aka channels with some people who have read, some who haven’t):

AfterBuzz TV - this channel has long, podcast-like reviews, with a few people who discuss what happened and their predictions for future episodes, and the group is mixed up from week to week, but the host stays the same.

NerdInsider - they have immediate reaction reviews as they film themselves watching the episode.

TIME Says Xenoblade Chronicles X Is The Best RPG Of 2015

TIME Says Xenoblade Chronicles X Is The Best RPG Of 2015

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TIME recently reviewed Xenoblade Chronicles X and have come away with the startling conclusion that it is easily the best RPG of 2015. There’s been plenty of notable RPG’s this year including The Witcher 3 and also Fallout 4, but the reviewer sounds confident when he says that it is the “best role playing game of 2015 hands down.” You can read the full review here or alternatively check out the…

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anonymous asked:

What is your opinion on himawari? Why do you not trust her?

I saved this for a couple of weeks so I could give it my proper attention. 

Because my opinion of Himawari has changed a little bit lately, I wanted to answer this with as much detail as I can. 

My distrust of Himawari mostly came from a few panels right a the start of the story. Namely this one here:

Which in hindsight doesn’t seem quite as ominous as it seemed at the time, but it definitely matched my opinion of her back then. Her hair and uniform seemed eerily similar to the visual style of everyone on Evil Wolverine’s staff roll too, so I was naturally very suspicious of everything happening with her. 

Recently I’ve warmed to her a lot more, mostly because of this:

Because I am all on board with people looking after Watanuki, and this is the clearest signal I’ve had that she genuinely cares for his well being and will go out of her way to ensure he is ok. Watanuki is desperately short on people in his life, and it makes me very happy to think that Himawari does actually consider him a good friend.

So Himawari has the greenlight from me at the moment. But do I trust her?

Kind of. 

I’m more convinced than ever that she has no ulterior motive at this point in time. But because this is CLAMP, and they are masters of heartbreak, I’m still expecting the theme of “reversal of expectations” to come full swing at one point or another. Watanuki doesn’t want Doumeki around, but having him around is purely a good thing with good consequences. So in reverse of that, Watanuki does want Himawari around, so I’m expecting something terrible to come out of that - eventually anyway. I have no idea when or how. 

But let’s pause that line of thinking for the moment. Instead, let’s zoom out and consider Himawari’s general position in the plot of xxxHolic as of right now. If we take her role in the story and the way she’s framed in general, I adore her and everything she stands for so so much. 

Because this is a story about teenagers. And the main character is a boy. 

And the main character is completely enamored with her. 

And if this series was being written by anyone else, the “expected thing” would be for her to reciprocate these feelings. She would, overtime, “come to realise” Watanuki’s good points and he would “win her over”. And it’s terrible, because in that kind of storyline the boy is presented as being “right” and the girl is “in the wrong” if she doesn’t return his affections. The story demands that she must fall in love with the main character, completely disregarding everything else in her life including her own autonomy. 

Himawari flies in the face of this trope so blatantly and so directly that I can’t help but fall in love with CLAMP all over again. Himawari doesn’t return Watanuki’s feelings. She doesn’t even realise he has feelings for her - and yes, this is played up for humorous effect, but she’s never portrayed as being wrong. 

The plot doesn’t pressure her to return his feelings and she’s never called out by other character. Himawari is just portrayed as the ray of sunshine that she is; her feelings are valid and correct for her and that’s the end of the story.

And while things might change in the future, right now I adore this about her.