ARC Review: In the Key of Code (Aimee Lucido)

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Genre: Middle Grade
Publisher: Walker Books
Publication Date: September 24th 2019
Format: ARC Paperback
Source: Pansing Books
Page Count: 416

Blurb from Goodreads:

In this innovative middle grade novel, coding and music take center stage as new girl Emmy tries to find her place in a new school. Perfect for fans of GIRLS WHO CODE series and THE CROSSOVER.

 

 


RATING

4 STARS

HERE’S MY REVIEW!

This book is such a fast and fun read! I read it just within a day and I cannot stop reading it because the story is captivating! I also love reading books with verses, so it is totally a plus point. Even though books with verses are short, they are enjoyable and meaningful enough to read. This is a book that you can read in one go.

Once I laid my eyes on the synopsis, I totally wanted to pick this up. I love reading and also learning new things. Since this book revolves around rare stuffs discussed in YA/children like coding, poetry and music, this is a must read. I have never come across books which have many subject combinations like this one. If I were given a chance to turn back time to change my course in school, I would definitely choose computer science because the subject is interesting to learn. To be honest whilst reading I was confused with the terms related to coding and music because it is new knowledge for me, I cannot help but feel interested to learn and research more about this area of study.

Not only the subject captivates me, I also love for the fact that Emmy is a wise and genuine person. She loves music so much that she relates everything in her life to music. I love her bravery to try out new things such as coding because not everyone is willing to change or add new interests. The message here is you can always find the things you love in unexpected places. Discovering what’s best for you may take time and it is okay to keep trying to find what’s best for you. Besides, the book tells us about the meaning of friendship, when everyone is trying to fit in just to please others. The book also revolves around family, which is one of my most favorite themes in books.

Aimee Lucido is such a genius to combine very distinct subjects into one book and write them wonderfully. I totally recommend you guys to check this book out when it is available in book stores.

Thank you Pansing Books for providing me this ARC!

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Sabrina

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Review: The Good Thieves (Katherine Rundell)

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Genre: Middle Grade
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s Book
Publication Date: June 13th 2019
Format: Paperback
Source: Pansing Books
Page Count: 336

Blurb from Goodreads:

When the letters first arrived from her beloved grandfather—the shaking, green-inked letters, full of bewildered anger at the loss of his ancestral home and the priceless jewels within it—Vita and her mother took the next boat to New York. And now that she’s here, Vita has only one goal: To break into Hudson Hall and steal back what the sinister Basil Sowotore took from her family.

But to do so, she needs a plan, a weapon, and faith in the pickpockets, trapeze-artists, and animal-tamers she has met along the way. With her troupe behind her, Vita attempts the most daring heist the city has ever seen. But will she succeed?


RATING

3 STARS

HERE’S MY REVIEW!

The Good Thieves is a story about a young girl who would do anything in her power to right the wrongs, with her supportive friends to support her along the journey.

This story delves into the complexity of the society when the powerful rich exploits the poor and what happens when the youngsters take part in sorting the problem. I find myself very inspired by Vita’s courage to help her grandfather in taking back his property from the evil millionaire. This is not something an average kid can do.

Some parts of the story are dull and boring, I am not sure because of the writing or I was just uninterested with it. Fortunately after reading about 100 pages long, I can slowly follow the pace of the story as the author introduces new characters and challenges faced by them. I wish that the author can write better in terms of characterization and character development because for example, Vita has so much potential to be a very endearing character but in this book, she is just mediocre. I love her spirit to selflessly help others, but that’s not enough. That does not mean I don’t appreciate the characters. They truly inspire me to be bold and brave in facing adventures.

I may not love this book, but I am glad to read any of Katherine’s masterpieces in the future.

Thank you Pansing Books for sending me a copy of The Good Thieves in exchange for an honest review.

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Sabrina

Review: A Torch Against the Night (Sabaa Tahir)

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Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Publisher: Razorbill
Publication Date: August 29th 2017 (First published August 30th 2016)
Format: Paperback
Source: Times Reads
Page Count: 452

Blurb from Goodreads:

Elias and Laia are running for their lives. After the events of the Fourth Trial, Martial soldiers hunt the two fugitives as they flee the city of Serra and undertake a perilous journey through the heart of the Empire.

Laia is determined to break into Kauf—the Empire’s most secure and dangerous prison—to save her brother, who is the key to the Scholars’ survival. And Elias is determined to help Laia succeed, even if it means giving up his last chance at freedom.

But dark forces, human and otherworldly, work against Laia and Elias. The pair must fight every step of the way to outsmart their enemies: the bloodthirsty Emperor Marcus, the merciless Commandant, the sadistic Warden of Kauf, and, most heartbreaking of all, Helene—Elias’s former friend and the Empire’s newest Blood Shrike.

Bound to Marcus’s will, Helene faces a torturous mission of her own—one that might destroy her: find the traitor Elias Veturius and the Scholar slave who helped him escape…and kill them both.


RATING

4.5 STARS

HERE’S MY REVIEW!

It has been a while since I’ve read something so dark and intense. That’s probably the reason why I managed to read the book just in a day. Frankly speaking, at first I was scared that I won’t be able to enjoy this book as much because it has been three years since I read An Ember in the Ashes so, it is safe to say that I didn’t remember any important details from the first book. Besides, I remembered what I initially felt about the book once I finished reading it, that I was aware that some of the plot lines were similar to fantasy books I’ve read before, to a point where I went to watch reviews on BookTube to validate my opinion and apparently some BookTubers also agreed on this.

A Torch Against the Night continues exactly where the first one left off. The first few chapters are so engaging and that makes me so pumped to continue the rest of the book. We receive so many new information in this second book regarding the characters and their origins and that shows how everything either it is big or small plays into a larger story. I love character-driven stories because you get to see how they evolve and change from time to time. For instance, Laia, Elias and Helene. Sabaa Tahir writes them as human beings with instincts and feelings, rather than just plot devices to carry out the story. All of their acts in the story are supported by their own thinking process and not influenced by any other entity. I also love that the characters evolve so much in this book, if to compare with the first one. I absolutely love Helene’s character progression, where she grows as a human being by realizing and reflecting to her past doings and mistakes. I cannot wait to see where the story leads her in A Reaper at the Gates!

All in all, this book is truly a PAGE-TURNER. Once you read this, you cannot stop and when you finish it, you will crave for more. Like I do.

Thank you Times Reads for providing me this wonderful copy of A Torch Against the Night!

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Sabrina

 

ARC Review: Into The Crooked Place (Alexandra Christo)

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Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Publication Date: October 8th 2019
Format: ARC Paperback
Source: Pansing Books
Page Count: 471

Blurb from Goodreads:

Magic rules the city of Creije Capital and Tavia Syn knows just how many tricks she needs up her sleeve to survive. Selling dark magic on the streets for her kingpin, she keeps clear of other crooks, counting the days until her debt is paid and she can flee her criminal life.

But then, one day, with her freedom in sight, Tavia uncovers a sinister plot that threatens to destroy the realm she calls home. Desperate to put an end to her kingpin’s plan, Tavia forms an unlikely alliance with three crooks even more deadly than her:

Wesley, the kingpin’s prodigy and most renewed criminal in the realm.

Karam, an underground fighter with a penchant for killing first and forgetting to ask questions.

And Saxony, a Crafter in hiding who will stop at nothing to avenge her family.

With the reluctant saviours assembled, they embark on a quest to put an end to the dark magic before it’s too late. But even if they can take down the kingpin and save the realm, the one thing they can’t do is trust each other.


RATING

3 STARS

HERE’S MY REVIEW!

It took me nearly four weeks to complete this book. It’s not that I don’t enjoy reading Fantasy books, particularly stories that involves ‘gangster heist fantasy’ like Six of Crows. I truly enjoyed reading Six of Crows and I rated the book a solid five stars for its amazing cast and story line. However, I didn’t feel the same way towards Into the Crooked Places.

I tried reading this book until 100 pages and I still didn’t connect to any of the characters at all. I felt like the characters were just written to be plot devices to carry out the story, while the characters could just be written properly to be human beings with feelings and instincts. I was even more disappointed because the story was written to have various point of views (POV) from the casts and it’s definitely a plus point to ensure that the readers have ample information on what to know and expect from each character. For me, characterization is very important no matter how bombastic the story is. If the characters are dull, it is enough to make the reader feel bored.

This book has so much potential because the story line is kinda interesting to follow. I like reading about broken people with their own dark past and how they form their group to defeat others. I just wanted a more face-paced storytelling and interesting characterization from Into the Crooked Places. 

I am intrigued to know what the second book can offer us next and I really hope that it won’t disappoint us!

Thank you Pansing Books for providing me this copy in exchange of an honest review!

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Sabrina

ARC Review: Scars Like Wings (Erin Stewart)

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Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: October 3rd 2019
Format: ARC Paperback
Source: Pansing Books
Page Count: 376

Blurb from Goodreads:

Relatable, heartbreaking, and real, this is a story of resilience–the perfect novel for readers of powerful contemporary fiction like Girl in Pieces and Every Last Word.

Before, I was a million things. Now I’m only one. The Burned Girl.

Ava Lee has lost everything there is to lose: Her parents. Her best friend. Her home. Even her face. She doesn’t need a mirror to know what she looks like–she can see her reflection in the eyes of everyone around her.

A year after the fire that destroyed her world, her aunt and uncle have decided she should go back to high school. Be “normal” again. Whatever that is. Ava knows better. There is no normal for someone like her. And forget making friends–no one wants to be seen with the Burned Girl, now or ever.

But when Ava meets a fellow survivor named Piper, she begins to feel like maybe she doesn’t have to face the nightmare alone. Sarcastic and blunt, Piper isn’t afraid to push Ava out of her comfort zone. Piper introduces Ava to Asad, a boy who loves theater just as much as she does, and slowly, Ava tries to create a life again. Yet Piper is fighting her own battle, and soon Ava must decide if she’s going to fade back into her scars . . . or let the people by her side help her fly.

“A heartfelt and unflinching look at the reality of being a burn survivor and at the scars we all carry. This book is for everyone, burned or not, who has ever searched for a light in the darkness.” –Stephanie Nielson, New York Times bestselling author of Heaven Is Here and a burn survivor.


RATING

4 STARS

HERE’S MY THOUGHTS!

I always find it interesting to read books regarding life, love, loss and moving on. Reading about survivors is truly inspiring, at one point they just know how to pick themselves up after the life-changing accident. Survivors have gone through such an ordeal with life, but then they still have to face rubbish from people around them, mainly those who fail to empathize with their situation. That is why support group exists for a reason. To support the survivors. To share their thoughts on life. On the other hand, we should never discriminate survivors because our support can mean everything to them.

Erin Stewart’s Scars Like Wings is about Ava, who lost her parents and cousin in a house fire, trying to start a new life after the accident. Scars Like Wings offers hope and light even in the darkest of scenarios. Ava is lucky to have guardians who care and love her as they way she is. I love that the author writes brilliant parental figure in this story to show how important their role is in a teenager’s well being. Her perspective on life changes after she enters high school and meets her best friends.

Everyone has scars. Some are just easier to see.

You can see the reflection of the society towards burn survivors. You observe the harsh reality Ava faces every single day that it is truly not her fault to be discouraged by it. That is the moment when she needs someone who can understand her emotionally. From the first page till the end, Ava’s voice is so engaging that you understand her pain and insecurities very well.

~MINOR SPOILER SECTION! BE WARNED!~

I do have a problem with the story, which is the supporting cast. To me, her friend just seems to be a manipulative and controlling character to Ava. I also feel bad because this unhealthy aspect in their friendship is never addressed in this story. If a person is struggling with mental health issues, never take advantage of them.

~SPOILER SECTION ENDED~

I would definitely recommend you guys to read this stunning debut by Erin Stewart!

Special thanks to Pansing Books for providing me this awesome ARC!

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Sabrina

Review: The Weight of Water (Sarah Crossan)

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Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Publisher: Bloomsbury YA
Publication Date: May 2nd 2019
Format: Paperback
Source: Pansing Books
Page Count: 259

Blurb from Goodreads:

Armed with a suitcase and an old laundry bag filled with clothes, Kasienka and her mother leave Poland and head for the UK to find her father. Life is lonely for Kasienka. At home her mother’s heart is breaking and at school Kasienka finds it impossible to make new friends. While the search continues, Kasienka is kept afloat by William, a boy she meets at the local pool who understands what it means to lose someone and who swims with Kasienka towards her new life.


RATING

4 STARS

HERE’S MY REVIEW!

The Weight of Water tells the reader on how to pick up the pieces when everything you know is turned on its head and you have to start all over again. The moment I laid my eyes on the synopsis, I knew that this book is going to be great in terms of self-exploration. I love reading self-exploration books as it gives us an idea on what are truly made of based on our intellectual and spiritual capacities.

At first, I didn’t expect this to be a poetry book. The moment I opened the book and flipped the pages, the content was written in verses. I don’t usually opt for poetry books because I don’t find them appealing at times. However, once I started reading it, I fell in love with the story.

I mark this as Young Adult because the issues discussed in the book were mostly about teenagers facing difficulties on family matters and adapting in the society. Mature audiences will appreciate the book even better because there were adult issues faced by the protagonist’s mother. The protagonist faced such an ordeal in her life, with abrupt changes such as relocating to another country with different mother tongue with no money and jobs to support them.

I have so many favorite verses in The Weight of Water and this verse is one of them:

We weren’t on a ship.
Immigrants don’t arrive on
Overcrowded boats any more,
Swarming wet docks like rats.
It isn’t 1920 and it isn’t Ellis Island –
Nothing as romantic as a view of
Lady Liberty
To welcome us.

This story is very touching but at the same time, enjoyable to read. I would definitely pick up any poetry book by Sarah Crossan anytime soon to enjoy more of her masterpieces!

Thank you Pansing Books for providing me this awesome review copy!

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Sabrina

 

Review: Not My Fault (Cath Howe)

 

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Genre: Children
Publisher: Nosy Crow
Publication Date: May 2nd 2019
Format: Paperback
Source: Pansing Books
Page Count: 268

Blurb from Goodreads:

Maya and Rose won’t talk to each other.

Even though they are sisters.

Not since the accident.

Maya is running wild, and Rose doesn’t know what to do.

Now Maya and Rose have to go away together on a week-long school journey. But will the trip – and a life-threatening adventure – fix their relationship… or break it for good?

A beautiful story of family, forgiveness, and finding out who you are, from the author of the highly-acclaimed Ella on the Outside.


RATING

3 STARS!

HERE’S MY REVIEW!

Not My Fault follows two sisters who go for a one-week trip and trying to fix their relationship after a life threatening event.

I love to read stories of family and forgiveness because it is very relatable. Sometimes it is not easy to forgive and forget the ones who have wronged us. We may feel that they are the ones who do the damage in the relationship, but we must remember that they are always two sides in a story. We must be rational in judging the situation and never take sides.

I like the theme of the story, but I don’t like the story line and characters. Maya is a rebel who doesn’t care about people around her and Rose doesn’t know how to approach Maya since the accident. Their attitude tires me and makes me want to end the story even faster. Their parents are also out of picture, since most of time they are away from home to attend the school trip. So, the book lacks some parents-daughter moments to compliment the story. I understand the author wants Maya and Rose to figure out ways to fix their relationship but the reconciliation moment is too rushed that there is nothing special behind it.

Special thanks to Pansing Books for providing me a copy of Not My Fault.

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Sabrina