Ringing In The New Year Book 2019 Tag

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Happy New Year everyone!

I wasn’t tagged by anyone, but since it is 2019, why not I make a new book tag post! 🙂

RULES:

  • Link to the person who tagged you
  • Link to the creator of the tag (Bookmark Chronicles)
  • Share the tag image
  • Answer the questions below
  • Tag friends (or not if you don’t feel like it)

Best book and/or series that you’ve read in 2018?

There were many books that caught my attention. For standalone, Dear Martin by Nic Stone was such a powerful and moving read that I hope more people will read the book. I feel like shoving the book to people who have not read it yet! What are you guys doing in your life?

Alright another one, Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng. Oh God this story. I couldn’t stop reading this once I started. The drama, tension and characters were so brilliantly written! I heard there is news about making this book to a TV series. Let’s just hope that the series is great!

For series, I guess The Trials of Apollo was great as well. I miss Percy Jackson and the gang and reading about them brought back memories of reading the PJO series.

Authors that you have recently found that you would like to read more of in the new year.

I would love to read more of Nic Stone’s, Angie Thomas’, Holly Black’s stories, and from a couple more authors.

Most anticipated book turned movie/TV show?

The second book in the series of To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, P.S I Still Love You by Jenny Han. I love this first movie and I hope the second is way better!

Name a character that you wouldn’t mind sharing a kiss with at midnight (if there is one)

Cardan from The Cruel Prince would make a good candidate LOL

What’s on your TBR for 2019? (Top 5-10 will suffice if it’s an extremely long list)

My main TBR:

  1. Children of Blood and Bone
  2. Renegades series
  3. The Weight of Our Sky
  4. The Wicked King

How many books do you hope to read in 2019?

I target for 40 books this year and I hope I will make it! Last year I read 46 books and I am proud of it 🙂

Will you participate in the Goodreads reading challenge or any others? (Popsugar, Down the TBR Hole, Etc.)

This year I will participate in the Goodreads Reading Challenge and I target 40 books to read by the end of the year!

Any New Year’s resolutions? (Bookish, blogging or vlogging, and otherwise)

  1. To read more books
  2. To expand horizon – read more genre
  3. To do more blogging
  4. Get a job

That’s my book tag, guys! Thank you for reading and I’ll see you in another book tag! 🙂

X

Sabrina

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Review: What Every Girl Should Know (J. Albert Mann)

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Genre: Young Adult Historical Fiction
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Publication date: February 12th 2019
Format: ARC Paperback
Source: Pansing Books
Page Count: 228

Blurb from Goodreads:

This compelling historical novel spans the early and very formative years of feminist and women’s health activist Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood, as she struggles to find her way amidst the harsh realities of poverty.

Margaret was determined to get out. She didn’t want to clean the dirty dishes and soiled diapers that piled up day in and day out in her large family’s small home. She didn’t want to disappoint her ailing mother, who cared tirelessly for an ever-growing number of children despite her incessant cough. And Margaret certainly didn’t want to be labelled a girl of “promise,” destined to become either a teacher or a mother—which seemed to be a woman’s only options.

As a feisty and opinionated young woman, Margaret Higgins Sanger witnessed and experienced incredible hardships, which led to her groundbreaking work as an advocate for women’s rights and the founder of Planned Parenthood. This fiery novel of Margaret’s early life paints the portrait of a young woman with the passion and courage to change the world.


RATING

4.5 STARS

HERE’S MY REVIEW!

WOW.

Now this is truly an incredible read.

This is my first time reading historical fiction and I am happy to say that this book is quite good and makes me even want to read more historical fiction out there! One of the aspects that I love about this book as it was set in the late 1890s and I have always wanted to read and experience it myself on how it was during that time, more specifically on how women were treated and respected by the society as a whole.

This book is a work of fiction, some might be true and some might be made up. However, the story felt real to me. The story truly described and showed the condition of how women are treated in the late 1890s in detail.

Margaret Louise Higgins Sanger‘s (Maggie, for short) story was about her hardship and poverty that she faced with both of her parents and an ever-growing number of siblings in a small house at Corning, New York. The daughters of the Higgins family worked day and night to scrub, wash, prepare and tidy the house and all of the humans inside it. The boys were not such a help either and that made the daughters worn out after calling it a day. Their father was a free-thinker, and this made him to be blacklisted and excluded from the society because of his such contradicting believes on God and religion. His father was not able to provide for the family well.

Education was Maggie’s only hope to get out of the house and to help her family escaping from the hardship that they had faced. She wanted to become a doctor, so she could learn how to treat patients. Her experience in facing extreme poverty has made her to become an advocate for women’s rights and the founder of Planned Parenthood.

At such a young age, she has learned and realised that women are not meant to stay at home doing chores only. Women are also equally equipped to work, vote and make a change in the society. Women deserve to be heard. She realised this because of his father, he was totally “free” and able to express his feelings strongly and Maggie envied him for that. She was very brave in giving speeches in school to express herself on why women should take part in the society.

I was not so sure of the ending, it was a bit too fast and blurry because the final part did not tell the readers on the Higgins’ wellbeing.

I have never read any of her biographies before and I am very much interested in reading them soon, to learn about her self-discovery and journey in advocating women’s right.

If you have the chance to read this, please do because this read will change your life.

Thank you Pansing for providing me this powerful read!

X

Sabrina

Review: Clownfish (Alan Durant)

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Genre: Children’s
Publisher: Walker Books Ltd
Publication date: November 1st 2018
Format: Paperback
Source: Pansing Books
Page Count: 219

Synopsis: 

~My Dad~

Species: Clownfish (Daddicus fishibum)
Habitat: The aquarium
Food: Fish flakes/cheeseburgers

Special note: 

After Dad’s funeral, I thought I’d never see him again. But when I visited the aquarium, there he was – only, he’d turned into a clownfish! I don’t think Mum’s ready to hear the news just yet. So for now, it’ll have to be my secret..


RATING

4 STARS!

HERE’S MY THOUGHTS!

After a very stressful week of committing to life, I would need a happy, light and easy read for me to devour please, thank you very much!

This book, Clownfish is a perfect read, initially I thought that this book was all about happiness and joy but I was wrong. It is heavier than that.

Clownfish is a moving story about friendship, love, family and heartache. Dak’s life with his family was unfortunately very short as his father has passed away due to heart disease. I felt for him because as a growing child, he truly needed the support from both of his parents. We saw his view after the transition with his life. Thankfully, his close friends were so kind and supportive of him and they always seemed concerned about Dak’s wellbeing.

He discovered something mind-blowing and unbelievable after his dad’s death. He kept this as a secret from everybody else and kept on focusing with his life until he neglected school. This was truly understandable as a child like him need time and space to recover.

My favourite part of this story was the relationship with his newly found mate, Violet, who was the niece to the owner of the aquarium that Dak has always visited. She reminded me of Darla in Finding Nemo because at first she was quite unbearable to begin with, but at the middle of the story, she became Dak’s best friend and they went through quite an adventure together.

Overall, I totally loved reading this story, it felt so honest yet poignant. I loved all the characters in this book, they all showed great characteristics and moral values.

This is my first time reading Alan Durant’s book and believe it or not, this masterpiece is his 100th book that he has written! This book is totally special to him, as the book is dedicated to his late father who died in 2016, Christopher Durant. And I think it is very special for me too.

Thank you so much Pansing Books for providing me this review copy! 

X

Sabrina

Review: The Tales of Beedle The Bard Illustrated Edition (JK Rowling and Chris Riddell)

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Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Publication Date: October 2nd 2018
Format: Hardcover, Illustrated Edition
Source: Pansing Books
Page Count: 160

This lovely book is now available in all good bookstores nearby!

Blurb from Goodreads:

A spectacular full-colour illustrated edition of J.K. Rowling’s fairytale classic The Tales of Beedle the Bard, with breathtaking illustrations by all-round genius and national treasure Chris Riddell.

The dazzlingly brilliant Chris Riddell brings his magical illustration talents to J.K. Rowling’s gloriously inventive The Tales of Beedle the Bard in a fully illustrated colour edition of this essential classic for Harry Potter fans. Translated from the runes by Hermione Granger, the volume includes ‘The Tale of the Three Brothers’, familiar to readers of Harry Potter from the crucial role it played in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

Mischievous and witty, these five rollicking tales are a deeply satisfying read in the tradition of all great fables and fairytales. Kindnesses are rewarded and selfishness shown to be the ruin of many a wizard. Burping cauldrons, hairy hearts and cackling stumps are met along the way. Each of the tales is accompanied by a deliciously subversive and insightful commentary by Professor Albus Dumbledore, all brought vividly to life with Riddell’s trademark wit and elegance.

Former Waterstones Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell is the only illustrator to have won the Kate Greenaway Medal three times, and is brought together here for the first time with one of the world’s best loved storytellers in this new edition of J.K. Rowling’s fairytale classic.

Much loved by generations of witches and wizards since they first appeared in the fifteenth century, this beautifully illustrated edition is set to become a firm favourite at bedtime in non-magical households the world over.

The Tales of Beedle the Bard is published in aid of Lumos, an international children’s charity founded in 2005 by J.K. Rowling.


MY OVERALL RATING:

4.3 STARS

INDIVIDUAL RATING:

1. The Wizard and the Hopping Pot – 3.5 STARS
2. The Fountain of Fair Fortune – 4 STARS
3. The Warlock’s Hairy Heart – 5 STARS
4. Babbitty Rabbitty and her Cackling Stump – 4 STARS
5. The Tale of Three Brothers – 5 STARS (My favourite of all!)

HERE’S MY THOUGHTS!

After finishing the entire 7 books back to back (now I have reread it for 3 times), actually I don’t have the intention to read this additional and companion story. I feel most attracted to The Tale of the Three Brothers mainly because its importance to Harry, Dumbledore and Voldermort’s origin and story. Many things we can learn from these short and fictional stories.

The Tales of Beedle the Bard is compilation of short bedtime stories specifically written for young Wizards and Witches. It is like Cinderella, Snow White in the Muggle world! All of the moral values and knowledge received from these stories are tailored to young wizards for them to know what is right and what is wrong. This is to instill character and behaviour since young, so that they know what to do when they face obstacles. These stories are no different compared to the Muggle ones, they are all telling the same theme and subject, which is to always be kind to one another, to be never boastful when we thought that we have achieved our dreams, to be selfless and to always respect one another.

My favourite part of this book is definitely the commentary made by my favourite character ever, Albus Dumbledore. His absorbed and thoughtful insight on the story really made me understand the stories better. One of the things that I adore Albus is about his love and fascination towards Muggles.

I have no regrets receiving this Illustrated edition. All of the illustration are spot-on and flawless, and these are absolutely helpful to the reader for better visualisation and reading.

Right now I must purchase all of the Illustrated books and also the Crimes of Grindelwald screenplay as well! God I love this Wizarding World so much and I am eternally grateful to have known this universe.

Thank you so much Pansing Books for providing me this GORGEOUS review copy! 

X

Sabrina

[Movie Review] Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

p13663846_p_v8_agTHIS IS MY INITIAL THOUGHTS AFTER WATCHING THE FILM

Directed by: David Yates
Writer: JK Rowling
Based on the characters created by: JK Rowling
Cast: Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol, Dan Fogler, Ezra Miller, Zoe Kravitz, Callum Turner, Claudia Kim, Kevin Guthrie, Jude Law, Johnny Depp


Now how do I review this without spoiling the movie so much? LOL

Crimes of Grindelwald takes place in 1927, three months after the event of the first film. I go into the cinema with such low expectations, thinking that the movie would be bad and bland, but I am absolutely blown out-of-the-way!

We get to see all of the characters from the first Fantastic Beast film and it is great to see them again on-screen after two years of waiting. A lot of new characters are introduced as well, such as Leta Lestrange, Theseus Scamander, Nicolas Flamel and my most favourite character, Albus Dumbledore. We get to see Gellert Grindelwald’s actions really well in the movie, as he is progressively dominating the world and people around him. It is refreshing to watch some of the characters on-screen that are sometimes mentioned in the books.

The plot is certainly interesting but it raised many questions instead of answers. It pains me that we have no way other than to wait for the next film to search for answers. I really hope that the waiting is worth it.

The setting of the movie is also different from the previous film, this particular film sets in London, Paris and also Hogwarts. When the soundtrack and scene of Hogwarts come into view, I cried because it has been such a long time we have seen Hogwarts on the big screen. The surroundings and students makes me feel home. It makes me miss Harry, Ron and Hermione more.

The most meaningful part of this film is the reunion between the characters. All of them have been separated for a quite of time, seeing them together again is totally a moment of triumph. Watching the movie feels like learning and starting about the Wizarding World all over again. It’s because this franchise is not based on books or written materials, so viewers are constantly being surprised by the story and plot twists. I honestly like it this way because it gives you the chance to expect the unexpected. It forces you to think out of the box. It makes me even excited to watch theory videos from Super Carlin Brothers after this!

There are many surprised, happy, damn-hilarious, sad and WTF moments in the movie. This movie is an epitome of roller coaster of emotions. It is both fun and light to watch a movie without too much of action, because all of the hilarious parts of the movie have balanced it all.

We also see a move of diversity in the film. The world and characters are in a different spectrum compared to the Harry Potter universe. More people of colour casts are involved in the film, showing the world is indeed inclusive with other cultures as well.

Personally, I really don’t mind watching and immersing myself in this new world. I totally appreciate new content from JK Rowling. I know people have been very vocal about JK Rowling messing up with this world and it seems a lot of things that JK Rowling has added and done to this new world is very much contradicting to the Harry Potter universe. I at times, question the canonicity of this universe, with such opposing information in this movie compared to what we have initially learnt in the books. Like Professor McGonagall’s cameo? The ending? After thinking about the film, I wish all of that would have not happened.

Anyway, as fans, I really hope that this franchise will be successful as the Harry Potter. I absolutely love this film, more than the first one. I would totally watch it again for the second time, for better understanding and research purposes. My advice is to watch it by yourself, without thinking too much of people’s critical review on this film. If you are a Harry Potter fan by heart, I can guarantee that you will love this as much I do.

I would love to hear your thoughts about the movie too! Are you excited or unimpressed?

My rating: 4 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐

X

Sabrina

ARC Review: The Past and Other Things That Should Stay Buried (Shaun David Hutchinson)

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Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication date: February 19th 2019
Format: ARC Paperback
Source: Pansing Books
Page Count: 294

Blurb from Goodreads:

A good friend will bury your body, a best friend will dig you back up.

Dino doesn’t mind spending time with the dead. His parents own a funeral home, and death is literally the family business. He’s just not used to them talking back. Until Dino’s ex-best friend July dies suddenly—and then comes back to life. Except not exactly. Somehow July is not quite alive, and not quite dead.

As Dino and July attempt to figure out what’s happening, they must also confront why and how their friendship ended so badly, and what they have left to understand about themselves, each other, and all those grand mysteries of life.


RATING

3 STARS

HERE’S MY REVIEW!

This is my first time reading Shaun’s book and honestly I have high expectations since one of his books, We Are The Ants is a very well-loved books in the YA community.

The Past and Other Things That Should Stay Buried (yes, it is very mouthful!) is a story about friendship between long-lost ex-bestfriends who grew apart from each other. This story between Dino and July at first is very intriguing as I am very interested in reading male to female dynamic relationship that is not related to romance.

As the story proceeds, I cannot find any WOW factor, or any part of the book that is worth reading and impressive. The characters are very bland, they are extremely flawed and not interesting. I guess the author is trying to write characters with anti-hero qualities, the one who lacks the ‘conventional heroic attributes’ unlike what we see in movies or even books. Both of them also have opposite characteristics, one is passive and the other is hostile. The reason on why they grew apart is also so petty, that I think the relationship can be repaired by just only discussing the problems between them. The plot is also very forgettable and nothing special, at times I cannot even identify the conflict and storyline.

The one thing is really stood out to me is the theme of death. Someone’s death can truly change and effect our life as a whole. How the death can change their relationship. I guess that the author is trying to metaphorically explain the meaning and impact of someone’s death to people. However, it does not work for me.

I truly appreciate the LGBT references in the book as one of the main characters is gay and also about the support and understanding given by the people of him.

I am mildly disappointed by the book but it does not stop me to try and read Shaun’s other writings in the future.

Thank you Pansing Books for providing me a review copy of the book!

X

Sabrina

 

Review: A Very Large Expanse of Sea (Tahereh Mafi)

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Blurb from Goodreads: 

It’s 2002, a year after 9/11. It’s an extremely turbulent time politically, but especially so for someone like Shirin, a sixteen-year-old Muslim girl who’s tired of being stereotyped.

Shirin is never surprised by how horrible people can be. She’s tired of the rude stares, the degrading comments—even the physical violence—she endures as a result of her race, her religion, and the hijab she wears every day. So she’s built up protective walls and refuses to let anyone close enough to hurt her. Instead, she drowns her frustrations in music and spends her afternoons break-dancing with her brother.

But then she meets Ocean James. He’s the first person in forever who really seems to want to get to know Shirin. It terrifies her—they seem to come from two irreconcilable worlds—and Shirin has had her guard up for so long that she’s not sure she’ll ever be able to let it down.


RATING

3.5 STARS!

HERE’S MY THOUGHTS!

I have been waiting for so long to read this book and write the review for this highly anticipated read for 2018! I was honestly stoked when Tahereh finally decided to write a YA contemporary book because I knew that this book is going to be perfect. I have only read two of her books, which are the middle grade series; Furthermore and Whichwood. The books are nothing but perfect!

The unique part of this story is that this book gives us an insight on what it means to be a Muslim in a non-Muslim country after the tragedy of 9/11. We get to see Shirin’s journey on how she goes through her life as a 16-year-old student, from being a friend and facing the family dynamics in her household. This book is brutally honest and raw, different from her other masterpieces. There are no flowery writing inserted. All monologues from Shirin is just purely straight forward and truthful.

I highly appreciate Muslim hijabi girls representation in Young Adult books, because I think they are not well represented in the society. Muslims are often mistaken for bad things and they are always treated horribly by the society. Their devotion to God is always mistakenly understood to be extremism. It is not always easy for immigrants to live a peaceful life in a foreign land as people will always have bad things to say. It is even worse when there is a sickening tragedy that involves the lives of many people. One of them, who is Shirin would be badly affected by the aftermath. We see how the society, in a smaller context, the students in her school treat her. They won’t befriend her, assume her like she is invisible and also throw brutal racist remarks to her. Being a Muslim in a non-Muslim country is different from being a Muslim in Muslim country. While reading, I compare myself, between the situation in my country with the struggles of Shirin’s. I think that never in my lifetime that I would understand what she has gone through. I understand my privilege and I will never abuse it to downgrade other people. I feel angry while reading because Shirin is constantly challenged with the society’s expectation towards her. She is always violently punished for something that she has never done. Everyone deserves to live in the world without being harmed.

I learn so much from the book, what it feels like to be in a xenophobic and islamophobic world but I think I am just given a tiny glimpse about what it feels like to be a Muslim in a non-Muslim country. This book is very important for readers to devour into, because it makes us understand the prejudice towards muslims in America. Seeing all of these makes us wonder the status of our education. Has our education done a perfect job in educating our children? It is our job to ponder.

I adore the male lead, which is the love interest for Shirin. I like the relationship between Shirin and her love interest, however, I hate for the fact that the romance has taken over the whole purpose of the book. I would want the book to focus more on Shirin’s journey for self-discovery. The romance factor has defeated the sole purpose of the book. I at times don’t feel comfortable reading about their relationship because I think it is too forced, and it is used as a plot device. This is the only reason on why I don’t give this book a 5 star. I would have to say that I am mildly disappointed with the relationship part.

My most favourite part of the book is that Shirin is a close reflection of the writer herself. I have never read any book that is very private and written based on personal experience by the author and the fact that Tahereh has published a book that is very close to her is such an amazing thing. It makes the book much more authentic and honest. It shows that Tahereh is very brave to show the world that her story is important enough for readers to learn. 

I now know the meaning of the title of the book! Only those who have read it may understand the meaning of it! 😛

X

Sabrina