ARC Review: Fight Like A Girl (Sheena Kamal)

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Genre: Young Adult 
Publisher:
 Hot Key Books
Publication Date: March 10th 2020
Format: Paperback
Source: Pansing Books
Page Count: 224

Blurb from Goodreads:

The Beauty of the Moment meets Exit, Pursued by a Bear. Award-winning thriller writer Sheena Kamal delivers a kick-ass debut YA novel that will have fans crying out for more.

Love and violence. In some families they’re bound up together, dysfunctional and poisonous, passed from generation to generation like eye color or a quirk of smile. Trisha’s trying to break the chain, channeling her violent impulses into Muay Thai kickboxing, an unlikely sport for a slightly built girl of Trinidadian descent. Her father comes and goes as he pleases, his presence adding a layer of tension to Toronto’s east-end townhouse Trisha and her mom call home, every punch he lands on her mother carving itself indelibly into Trisha’s mind. Until the night he wanders out drunk in front of the car Trisha is driving, practicing on her learner’s permit, her mother in the passenger seat. Her father is killed, and her mother seems strangely at peace. Lighter, somehow. Trisha doesn’t know exactly what happened that night, but she’s afraid it’s going to happen again. Her mom has a new man in her life and the patterns, they are repeating.


RATING

3 STARS

HERE’S MY REVIEW!

I have to say that I am pretty much intrigued to read this book. The theme revolves around love and violence, something that is different and taboo in young adult fiction.

Unfortunately, I don’t enjoy this as much as I hope to. For the first 50 pages, I am engrossed to Trisha’s life especially with her Muay Thai journey and her father’s death. After that, the plot of the story declines and that makes me unable to understand this story as a whole and what the author is trying to convey. For the most part of my reading process, I am confused with plot line and there are also subplots to the story that makes it harder to follow as well. I have to say the aftermath of her father’s death is the complex subject in this book.

I really want to enjoy this book, however maybe it is not a good time for me to read this.

I would love to try and read other books from Sheena Kamal in the future.

Thank you Pansing Books for sending me an ARC of Fight Like A Girl!

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Sabrina

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Review: Somebody Give This Heart a Pen (Sophia Thakur)

45998211._SY475_Genre: Young Adult Poetry
Publisher:
 Walker Books Ltd
Publication Date: October 3rd 2020
Format: Paperback
Source: Pansing Books
Page Count: 107

Blurb from Goodreads:

A compelling collection of poems that explores the emotions and experiences of growing up as a mixed-race woman.

From acclaimed performance poet Sophia Thakur comes a powerful new collection of poems exploring issues of identity, difference, perseverance, relationships, fear, loss and joy. The collection is arranged as life is: from youth to school, to home life, falling in love and falling straight back out again. The poems draw on the author’s experience as a young mixed-race young woman trying to make sense of a lonely and complicated world. With a strong narrative voice and emotional empathy, this is poetry that will resonate with all young people, whatever their background, and whatever their dreams. As she says, she hopes the poems will help readers “grow through what they go through”.


RATING

3 STARS

HERE’S MY REVIEW!

It has been a while since I read a poetry book. I don’t usually gravitate towards poetry, but once in a while I would love to read some to broaden my reading picks. I’ve read Milk and Honey and The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur and I enjoy them.

This book is divided to a few sections which are the process of life, from growing, waiting, breaking and growing again. It’s a poetry full of stories about race, politics, love, family, friendship and heartbreak.

I love parts where the author writes about her mom’s perseverance in life and I can totally relate it to mine. Mothers are always so kind yet so brave in dealing with obstacles. I cannot relate on the love and heartbreak part but I can feel the pain that the author feels.

Some poetry books are underdone, like just when you read someone’s diary. However, Somebody Give This Heart A Pen is not. The writing is just so brilliant with insightful and perceptive words that makes you crave for more.

There are many great verses in this one but this one verse truly caught my attention. Here it is:

“Do you find peace when you are alone? Or do you claw your laptop open. Chain you eyes to you phone. Trade your thoughts for someone else’s? Too busy to impose on yourself for a moment.”

Thank you so much Pansing Books for sending me a finished copy of Somebody Give This Heart A Pen.

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Sabrina

ARC Review: And The Stars Were Burning Brightly (Danielle Jawando)

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary46222725._SY475_.jpg
Publisher:
 Simon and Schuster UK
Expected Publication Date: March 5th 2020
Format: Paperback
Source: Pansing Books
Page Count: 388

Blurb from Goodreads:

An emotionally rich and current story of suicide, mental health, bullying, grief and growing up around social media.

When fifteen-year-old Nathan discovers that his older brother Al has taken his own life, his whole world is torn apart.
Al was special.
Al was talented.
Al was full of passion and light…so why did he do it?
Convinced that his brother was in trouble, Nathan begins to retrace his footsteps. And along the way, he meets Megan. Al’s former classmate, who burns with the same fire and hope, who is determined to keep Al’s memory alive. But when Nathan learns the horrifying truth behind his brother’s suicide, one question remains – how do you survive, when you’re growing up in the age of social media?


RATING

4 STARS

HERE’S MY REVIEW!

*UPDATED on October 10th 2019 – here’s the cover reveal for And The Stars Were Burning Brightly! Isn’t gorgeous? ❤

And The Stars Were Burning Brightly is a story about loss and grief. The moment I receive this book, I instantly feel that this is going to be a hard read. Stories like this are meant to be read in an uncomfortable way, because in no way that these subject are bearable for the readers to read. Raw stories makes us realize that we have to do so much in order to help those who are in need.

I’ve read many stories about loss and grief, and this book is definitely one of the most powerful and moving stories I’ve ever read. The author’s note is definitely shocking to me, because I don’t expect that I’m reading something that is so close to her life. We must applaud Danielle Jawando’s bravery and courage for crafting something from her life for readers to enjoy and ponder.

The main character, Nathan is definitely a moving voice of hope throughout the story. He’s fifteen years old, but he has endured a lot of obstacles in his life including having his father walked away from the family to losing his own brother, Al. He is truly determined to find out what actually had happened before his brother take away his own life, even though his brother has his plans all laid out for his future.

I truly appreciate the second perspective in the book by Megan. It shows that even after someone’s death, there is going to be a person who truly loves and supports you no matter what.

While reading this, I immensely feel why people have to be so cruel? Don’t they have hearts and mind to empathize and think rationally? It happens in real life and yet there are no real action taken to prosecute these bullies. In this book, none of the teachers are present to stop this cruelty from happening. It all starts with the teachers. If they are complacent to even care, then the students who witness the act must take immediate action. We have to stand up to bullies and tell them this is wrong. It is never right to insult someone based on their looks.

After checking on Goodreads, I notice that there will be a sequel and I am intrigued to know what’s next on Nathan and Megan’s story after this.

And The Stars Were Burning Brightly deserves to be on your TBR list next spring, so don’t forget to pre-order this book as soon as possible!

Thank you Pansing Book for providing me an ARC of And The Stars Were Burning Brightly! 

X

Sabrina

 

Review: The M Word (Brian Conaghan)

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Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Publisher: Bloomsbury YA
Publication Date: October 1st 2019
Format: Paperback
Source: Pansing Books
Page Count: 337

Blurb from Goodreads:

Moya. The M Word. Whisper it. Conceal it. But please, never mention it …

Maggie Yates talks to her best friend Moya every day.

She tells her about Maggie’s mum losing her job. She tells her that Mum’s taken to not opening the curtains and crying in secret. And she tells her about how she plans to cheer Mum up – find her a fella with a bit of cash to splash.

Moya is with her every step of the way. You’re surfing a rainbow if you think someone like that exists round here, she smiles. But I’ll help.

But at the back of her mind Maggie knows that Mum’s crying is more than sadness. That there are no easy fixes. And that Moya’s not really there. Because though she talks to her every day, Moya died months ago…

An unforgettable novel about grief and healing from Costa and Irish Book Award winner Brian Conaghan.


RATING

3 STARS

HERE’S MY REVIEW!

I’m going to be honest with you that this is a hard read for me. I go through this book honestly expecting it to be similar to The Weight of a Thousand Feathers, but unfortunately it is not. I love The Weight of a Thousand Feathers so much that I rated it a solid five stars and it was definitely one of the best books I’ve read in 2018.

The M Word tackles so many taboo topics like anxiety, stress disorder, clinical depression and also suicide. I truly appreciate that trigger warnings are stated at the cover of the book, saying it contains strong language and adult themes and it is not suitable for younger readers, to minimize harm. The story is so authentic and emotionally raw that sometimes I feel very uncomfortable reading it because it seems very intimate.

The main protagonist, Maggie Yates is truly a strong character. She is 17 and about to enter college, but her whole life is tumbling down, from her mom being jobless, to being diagnosed with mental illness to having her best friend died. She is not in a good state of mind so she tries to find something that can ease her pain.

This book truly shows what it feels to be at the lowest of the low and how life can be very excruciating at times. There are plenty of descriptive self harming in the book, so be very cautious while reading the scenes because it can be very disturbing.

What bothers me is the progression of the story. I am not hooked at all for the first hundred pages because there is no big development whatsoever. It gets better towards the end of the book. I am also irritated by the fact that there are too much swearing in the book that is somehow intolerable.

Read this if you are searching for something different in the YA space in terms of mental health issues.

Thank you Pansing Books for sending me a copy of The M Word.

X

Sabrina

 

Review: Finding Audrey (Sophie Kinsella)

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Blurb from Goodreads:

Audrey can’t leave the house. she can’t even take off her dark glasses inside the house.

Then her brother’s friend Linus stumbles into her life. With his friendly, orange-slice smile and his funny notes, he starts to entice Audrey out again – well, Starbucks is a start. And with Linus at her side, Audrey feels like she can do the things she’d thought were too scary. Suddenly, finding her way back to the real world seems achievable.

 

 

 


RATING

3 STARS

HERE’S MY REVIEW!

I am very intrigued to read this because this was definitely a hyped book back then in 2015, when the book was first released. Most people in Goodreads like the story, so I want to give it a try.

I kinda enjoy reading it, as the main issues discussed are heavy subjects, for example mental health issues such as social anxiety disorder and clinical depression. We read about Audrey’s daily struggles fighting her own self after being diagnosed and we get to see how that illness affects her family entirely. After the incident, her parents are so careful and meticulous of what their children do in their life to a point where the mother doesn’t even allow any video gaming in the house, because apparently it makes you tired and irritable, based on what she has read in the newspaper. Which is true by the way.

Throughout the book, she consults with her doctor and it is fascinating to see how the doctor tries to push the boundaries of what Audrey can do. It is not easy to take control of your anxiety, it will definitely take time. What I know from this book is that the people around the person is a vital part in recovering them. However, in the story, we don’t really know what is the incident that triggers the main character’s illnesses. I feel the writing is unfinished and lazy, as the story is incomplete. A little background story of what really happen won’t hurt a little because it really makes the difference. It makes the reader comprehend the story better and it will strengthen the story line.

Apart from that, there are many hilarious moments that make me smile while reading. Overall, an okay book to devour once in a while.

X

Sabrina

Review: Everything, Everything (Nicola Yoon)

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Blurb from Goodreads:

My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.


RATING

3 STARS

HERE’S MY REVIEW!

I would like to say that I have watched the book to movie adaptation first before reading the book. The film was perfect, from the brilliant characters to the powerful story. The plot was not something new, but I liked it. I really didn’t expect the twist at the end of the movie though.

For the book, I finished it in just one sitting. Not because the book was great, it’s because it was so easy to fly through. The chapters were so short I didn’t have a hard time deciphering her thoughts and feelings. What made my reading experience even faster was the fact that there were many illustrations about Maddy’s life, for example her breathing rate, text messages, emails and even flight tickets that were so adorable. At first, I was very interested to know how Maddy managed her life as a diagnosed SCID patient in a sterile environment, for example how she was homeschooled etc. However, her attention was instantaneously focused on this new boy who had just became her neighbour. That was when I lost my interest towards her. She turned out to be just like the rest of young adult female protagonists in other contemporary books.

I supported the main character to follow her dreams as she wanted to become free. She has spent her entire life living in her house for 18 years, if I were to live in a house for a week, I’ll be dead bored as well. However, I wasn’t a big fan of her decisions. For example, many of her decisions were truly overshadowed by her desire towards the love interest. She relied too much on him until it consumed her. In the book, she has done risky choices just to be with this guy without thinking about her own mother and health. As if she wouldn’t be able to live her life to the fullest if she didn’t meet the boy. Had there been a more profound way to push Maddy to understand why she needed to follow her dreams, I would definitely be okay with it.

I think I would enjoy this better when I was 17.

X

Sabrina

Review: Tunnel of Bones (Victoria Schwab)

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Blurb from Goodreads:

Trouble is haunting Cassidy Blake . . . even more than usual.

She (plus her ghost best friend, Jacob, of course) are in Paris, where Cass’s parents are filming their TV show about the world’s most haunted cities. Sure, it’s fun eating croissants and seeing the Eiffel Tower, but there’s true ghostly danger lurking beneath Paris, in the creepy underground Catacombs.

When Cass accidentally awakens a frighteningly strong spirit, she must rely on her still-growing skills as a ghosthunter — and turn to friends both old and new to help her unravel a mystery. But time is running out, and the spirit is only growing stronger.

And if Cass fails, the force she’s unleashed could haunt the city forever.


RATING

4 STARS

HERE’S MY REVIEW!

I am so excited to know that there will be a second book in this Cassidy Blake series. I love reading middle grade books and if there is a pinch of paranormal inside of the story, I would be definitely sold!

Here’s my review for City of Ghosts. 

This time around, Cassidy is on a mission to hunt down ghost stories in Paris, France, where it is known to be a heaven of fashion and a scene of love among tourists. However, we do not know that underneath Paris, there is a creepy catacomb that places millions of dead bodies turned into a tunnel of bones.

Paris plays a wonderful backdrop to this ghost story. I love reading about the scenery, people, food and most importantly about the places. Cassidy and her family travel to many landmarks in Paris to explore the history of the place and ghost stories behind it and it is so interesting to see how the stories unravel. I love the juxtaposition on how Victoria can turn this fashion city into such a haunted place that is so terrifying to even visit.

I also love Cassidy’s friendship with her ghost friend, Jacob. Their friendship are honestly hashtag goals because they are always be there for each other. Even though they are very different in terms of personality, but the difference makes the relationship even stronger.

I cannot wait to see what city Victoria is going to write about in the next book and I know that it will not disappoint us all.

X

Sabrina