Review: You Only Live Once (Jess Vallance)

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Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Publication date: August 23rd 2018
Format: Paperback
Source: Pansing Books
Page Count: 400

Blurb from Goodreads:

The start of a hilarious new teen series for fans of Geek Girl.

Gracie Dart has always worked hard and she’s got a wall covered with revision timetables and French verbs to prove it. But now GCSEs are behind her and she suddenly starts to think: what was the POINT of it all?

When Gracie thinks she’s dying of a disgusting tropical illness, she starts to worry she’s been wasting her best years being sensible. It’s like people say: you only live once – so isn’t it about time she started LIVING?
(OK, so the tropical illness turned out to be a fake-tan miscalculation. Anyone could make the same mistake.)

When Gracie decides to do something, she does it properly. Gracie Dart is about to live out her dreams. However embarrassing.


RATING

3 STARS

HERE’S MY REVIEW!

This book is totally aimed to students who have just finished school and trying to figure out what are the things that they want to do in life. By reading the synopsis, I can guarantee that the main character is going to have one helluva journey.

I truly enjoyed the concept of the book — trying to make the most out of life and being spontaneous. Gracie Dart is truly an excellent student, she scores well in her exams and turns down school trips just to be able to study at home. After finishing GCSE, she lives by the motto of “You Only Live Once”. We can see her doing spontaneous activities such as going for a horse-turned-to-a-donkey ride at beach, bungee jumping, trip to Paris with her sick grandmother and many challenging things that she has never done before. I imagine myself doing all of the things that Gracie has done while reading and wishing that I have guts to do that. I love it how this book discusses on the importance of relationship with friends and family as well as sexuality. Gracie is a lesbian and she has a great support system who truly supports her sexuality.

Gracie is the living reflection of a young adult who wants to do and try everything in life, but greatly vulnerable and sometimes undecided about on what they truly wants to do in life. Gracie is very spontaneous and brave, but she also pushes away people who truly care about her. I guess that is just the ups and downs of being a growing teenager. Even though I cannot connect thoroughly with her character, I love how the writer successfully connects the meaning and worth of life with Gracie’s story. Circumstances that happen in the story test Gracie’s view on the worth of knowledge learned from school towards to the reality of life. There are a few discussions on the quality of life, where she feels like quitting school. At some point of life, you will realise the ugly truth of the cycle of life. You have to work hard to earn. You cannot escape it. I feel very enlightened by the moral of the story. Sometimes in life, we do get carried away with life that we fail to realise the meaning of it.

The ending is okay, everything that I expect it to be. I like how Gracie tries to face the music after for what she has done. Gracie goes through some intense self-development and self-discovery in her journey, and that is why I can say that this book is one of the best coming-of-age story ever.

I look forward to read the next book of the series, To Be Perfectly Honest.

Thank you Pansing Books for providing a copy in exchange of an honest review.

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Sabrina

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Review: Emergency Contact (Mary H. K. Choi)

38749034Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publisher: Simon Schuster Books
Publication date: March 27th, 2018
Format: ARC Paperback
Source: Pansing Books
Page Count: 394

Blurb from Goodreads:

For Penny Lee high school was a total nonevent. Her friends were okay, her grades were fine, and while she somehow managed to land a boyfriend, he doesn’t actually know anything about her. When Penny heads to college in Austin, Texas, to learn how to become a writer, it’s seventy-nine miles and a zillion light years away from everything she can’t wait to leave behind.

Sam’s stuck. Literally, figuratively, emotionally, financially. He works at a café and sleeps there too, on a mattress on the floor of an empty storage room upstairs. He knows that this is the god-awful chapter of his life that will serve as inspiration for when he’s a famous movie director but right this second the seventeen bucks in his checking account and his dying laptop are really testing him.

When Sam and Penny cross paths it’s less meet-cute and more a collision of unbearable awkwardness. Still, they swap numbers and stay in touch—via text—and soon become digitally inseparable, sharing their deepest anxieties and secret dreams without the humiliating weirdness of having to see each other.


RATING

4.5 STARS

HERE’S MY THOUGHTS!

I read this gorgeous book in a day! You can imagine how good this book is.

The fact that Rainbow Rowell, one of my favourite authors who introduced me to Young Adult Contemporary books blurbed this book, I AM ALREADY PUMPED!

This is one of my most anticipated reads of 2018. Once I skimmed the synopsis when it was released, I was hooked and interested! This NYT Best Seller book did not disappoint at all! Even though this book received many mixed reviews on Goodreads, I truly enjoyed reading the story of Penny and Sam facing their inner demons and life obstacles. I was surprised that this book was actually a YA/NA contemporary. I don’t really read NA these days thus reading young adults who were trying to start their journey outside of their comfort zones was very special to me, as I am also searching and struggling.

Emergency Contact allows us to appreciate the growth of two struggling young adults who are finding the meaning of life and exploring the beauty of their friendship. I gravitate towards good friendship/relationship books, I love to see how relationships between two people starts to develop and bloom. I love Penny and Sam always find their ways to each other, their frankness in their relationship and also on how they depend on each other during hard times. The characters were realistic and fragile, there were times when I wanted to hug them so much because they were too vulnerable as they have went through so much in life 😦

The writing was good, for me it was fast paced as it kept me entertained and interested in reading till the end. I didn’t realise that the book was going to end until 360+ pages because I was so engrossed with Penny and Sam that I didn’t want it to end! I read somewhere that the writer is plotting on Book 2 and 3, so rest assured that there will be a sequel coming! YAY

Characters are not always perfect. Things in life change people, effect on how they react and think. One thing that truly disturbed my attention was the fact that Penny pushed her loved ones, especially her mom. I felt for her mom, because family always wants to be near us. I am no position to judge people on their relationships with their family, but take the time to appreciate them.

I would truly recommend this book to readers who would enjoy reading about blooming friendships who find peace in each other presence 🙂

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

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Sabrina

 

ARC Review: A Curse So Dark and Lonely (Brigid Kemmerer)

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Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Publication date: January 29th 2019
Format: ARC Paperback
Source: Pansing Books
Page Count: 484
This book will be available in all good bookstores.

Blurb from Goodreads

In a lush, contemporary fantasy retelling of Beauty and the Beast, Brigid Kemmerer gives readers another compulsively readable romance perfect for fans of Marissa Meyer.

Fall in love, break the curse. 

It once seemed so easy to Prince Rhen, the heir to Emberfall. Cursed by a powerful enchantress to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year over and over, he knew he could be saved if a girl fell for him. But that was before he learned that at the end of each autumn, he would turn into a vicious beast hell-bent on destruction. That was before he destroyed his castle, his family, and every last shred of hope.

Nothing has ever been easy for Harper. With her father long gone, her mother dying, and her brother barely holding their family together while constantly underestimating her because of her cerebral palsy, she learned to be tough enough to survive. But when she tries to save someone else on the streets of Washington, DC, she’s instead somehow sucked into Rhen’s cursed world.

Break the curse, save the kingdom. 

A prince? A monster? A curse? Harper doesn’t know where she is or what to believe. But as she spends time with Rhen in this enchanted land, she begins to understand what’s at stake. And as Rhen realizes Harper is not just another girl to charm, his hope comes flooding back. But powerful forces are standing against Emberfall . . . and it will take more than a broken curse to save Harper, Rhen, and his people from utter ruin.


RATING

4 STARS

HERE’S MY REVIEW!

Oh my god guys.

This book was far better than I expected. I went through the story with such low expectations and hopes but I was very satisfied and contented with the story. First, I was thankful that I received this arc from Pansing. Upon receiving the arc, I was intimidated by the fact that the book was so thick (it’s 500 pages long) that I nearly guessed that this is definitely a stand alone fantasy. I was wrong. I could tell by the ending that there would be a sequel and I cannot wait to read it! I believe that there is more to be told in the next story!

I have never read Beauty and the Beast and since this is a retelling of the tale, I didn’t have any references to compare between the stories. The story was well written with such amazing and diverse casts. I love Harper, the main character who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and that the medical condition did not define her. She is strong as steel and quick with her movement. Her confidence and courage was shown by how she tried to solve problems in order to break the curse. She was so selfless because she cared and helped the people of Emberfall, even though she came from another world. The male main character, Prince Rhen was also interesting to read about. He was so mysterious and calm. I could feel his despair every time he spoke about his life and that made me truly sympathised him. The other supporting casts were also so fun to read.

Even though the story was set in a very much different world from us, the world of Emberfall seems so familiar and comfortable. I was so mesmerized with the world that I felt like I was in the story as well. I was surprised by the ending because I really didn’t anticipate it. It pains me until now that I have to wait for another year to finally get my hands on the second book! 😭

I read this book in just two days because it was so good and gripping from page one till the end!

Looking forward for the next book of the series ❤

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

X

Sabrina

Review: The Dark Prophecy (Rick Riordan)

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Blurb from Goodreads:

Zeus has punished his son Apollo – god of the sun, music, archery, poetry, and more–by casting him down to earth in the form of a gawky, acne-covered sixteen-year-old mortal named Lester. The only way Apollo can reclaim his rightful place on Mount Olympus is by restoring several Oracles that have gone dark. What is affecting the Oracles, and how can Apollo/Lester do anything about them without his powers? After experiencing a series of dangerous–and frankly, humiliating–trials at Camp Half-Blood, Lester must now leave the relative safety of the demigod training ground and embark on a hair-raising journey across North America. Fortunately, what he lacks in godly graces he’s gaining in new friendships–with heroes who will be very familiar to the fans of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians and Heroes of Olympus series. Come along with Apollo and Leo for what promises to be a harrowing, hilarious, and haiku-filled ride.


RATING

4 STARS

HERE’S MY REVIEW!

I cannot thank Rick Riordan enough for making Greek and Roman mythologies fun to read. This story is the second book in The Trials of Apollo series, as we watch the greek god, Apollo or known as the teenage Lester tries to regain his godly powers.

In The Dark Prophecy, we are reunited with the amazing casts of Heroes of Olympus series who are Leo Valdez and Calypso. In this world, we just have to be prepared to meet many new Greek and Roman gods, monsters and characters of all types.

I have come to love Apollo and all of the characters in the book. It is very interesting to watch him struggle with the adversity of being human. Meg McCaffrey on the hand is being such a sport to Apollo by being a good travelling companion to him, in order to face the quest. Apollo has realised that mortals do rely to each other, unlike Greek and Roman gods, so he is getting more loyal and devoted to his friends. Apollo is less self-centered now, but sometimes he still thinks that the world revolves around him. He expects things to go smooth sailing without needing to do any work.

I love for the fact that all of them care for each other so much that they are willing to do anything to see the other survives. Seeing them protecting each other truly warms my heart. I truly appreciate the appearances of LGBT+ characters in the book as it shows that all characters regardless of what their orientations are celebrated and welcomed.

The action is non-stop and engaging. There is something so incredibly fun about Rick Riordan’s writing that makes me truly engrossed into reading about Greek and Roman myths. I feel so knowledgable reading about them as I didn’t have the chance to properly learn them in school.

One of my favourite characters in the Percy Jackson series has returned and I am so excited to read about him in the next book, The Burning Maze with our favourite duo, Apollo and Meg! Guys, this is only the second book of a five book series, but I see so much potential! The problem is that one year of waiting for the next book can be so unbearable. Just pray that our beloved cast won’t die in the series 😦

X

Sabrina

Review: Whichwood (Tahereh Mafi)

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Blurb from Goodreads:

A new adventure about a girl who is fated to wash the bodies of the dead in this companion to Furthermore.

Our story begins on a frosty night…

Laylee can barely remember the happier times before her beloved mother died. Before her father, driven by grief, lost his wits (and his way). Before she was left as the sole remaining mordeshoor in the village of Whichwood, destined to spend her days washing the bodies of the dead and preparing their souls for the afterlife. It’s become easy to forget and easier still to ignore the way her hands are stiffening and turning silver, just like her hair, and her own ever-increasing loneliness and fear.

But soon, a pair of familiar strangers appears, and Laylee’s world is turned upside down as she rediscovers color, magic, and the healing power of friendship.


RATING

4.5 STARS!

HERE’S MY REVIEW!

After finishing Whichwood, I can truly say that Tahereh Mafi is a great writer! Her story, characters, words written are so perfect and beautiful. This companion to Futhermore is definitely worth the wait. In my experience, Whichwood’s story is better than Futhermore in terms of story line and writing per se. I was constantly amazed while reading because of her writing was so flowery, all descriptions were perfectly describe and well-detailed. I also loved the Persian fantasy elements in the novel. All of the depiction of the main character’s work as a mordeshoor, who washes dead bodies in preparation for the afterlife were very knowledgeable and appreciated. Alice and Oliver from Futhermore appearance’s made the story even more enjoyable and entertaining and that even made the story even more wonderful. The friendship between the young children stood out the most and that was definitely the best part of the book.

Several important messages were perceived in the book, thus it shows that middle grade books do offer critical significance for us adults to ponder upon, even though the story is whimsical and amusing. One of themes that was very prominent to me was child labour. See, the book is darker than you even expected! The story revolved around Laylee, who was an overworked child and often undervalued by the society. This was definitely an exploitive act done by irresponsible grown-ups in the story. This scenario is no stranger to the real world. Children are often exploited because they (employers) think that they can simply be ordered, hence they will be deprived from going to school and experience a normal childhood. God I love stories with immense lesson for us readers to reflect!

All in all, I love everything about this story and I do hope that there will be another companion to this whimsical middle grade story!

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Sabrina

ARC Review: The Weight of a Thousand Feathers (Brian Conaghan)

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Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Publication date: June 14th, 2018
Format: ARC Paperback
Source: Pansing Books
Page Count: 320
This book is available in all good bookstores.

Blurb from Goodreads:

Child experts will tell you that I’m way too young to carry such a burden of responsibility on my tender shoulders. But really, what do they know?’ Who is Bobby Seed? He’s just your average sixteen-year-old – same wants, same fears, same hang-ups. Dull, dull, dull. But then there’s the Bobby Seed who’s a world away from average. The Bobby Seed who has to wipe his mum’s backside, sponge her clean three times a week, try to soothe her pain. The Bobby Seed whose job it is to provide for his younger brother, Danny, to rub his back when he’s stressed and can only groan and rock instead of speak. That’s Bobby Seed. Same, same, same, yet different, different, different …


RATING

5 SHINING STARS!

HERE’S MY REVIEW!

Pretty surprising that this book does not get any hype or publicity it deserves so well.  This heart-rending and emotional story is definitely special and important for young readers to enjoy.

It made me cry, and I love GOOD books that make me cry. It shows that the book is powerful enough to make us fully perceive the message written by the author. This book is perfect for Me Before You fans as both of them have similar themes which are taking care of someone who is very ill and understanding the actual meaning of death.

I adore Bobby Seed. He is very strong, an obedient son to her mother and a very good carer to her mother and brother. As any other teenager out there, he worries about school, future and random possibilities about her mother’s condition. It is very rare to see such a wise male character in YA books so I appreciate Bobby very much as a figure who we all can set as a role model. This young carer’s journey is not something we often read about nowadays in YA literature hence it is very informative and enlightening to observe Bobby’s view in taking care of her mother. Witnessing his journey on seeing his mother’s health declining over time is something I would never in my lifetime, will be able to understand. The pain is unbearable. Ethically grey areas are also thoroughly discussed in the book. I at times have disagreements to this particular subject however who I am to judge whoever who faces this unexplainable challenge? The author has done a wonderful job in delivering the message from both narratives in the story. This story also has many fun and witty moments and that totally ease my reading. I think about my mother all time while reading this book, realising that how damn lucky I am to have my mother by my side and very healthy and prosperous family right now. I thank the stars for them ❤

This book totally offers an insight on understanding how vast human’s emotions can be. This is such a changed book that I think that granting 5 stars is not enough to show how changed this is.

Thank you Pansing Books for providing a copy in exchange of an honest review.

X

Sabrina

ARC Review: The Light Between Worlds (Laura Weymouth)

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Genre: YA Fantasy
Publisher: Chicken House
Publication Date: 
November 1st 2018
Format: ARC Paperback
Source: Pansing Books
Page Count: 405

Blurb from Goodreads:

Five years ago, Evelyn and Philippa Hapwell cowered from air strikes in a London bomb shelter. But that night took a turn when the sisters were transported to another realm called the Woodlands. In a forest kingdom populated by creatures out of myth and legend, they found temporary refuge.

When they finally returned to London, nothing had changed at all—nothing, except themselves.

Now, Ev spends her days sneaking into the woods outside her boarding school, wishing for the Woodlands. Overcome with longing, she is desperate to return no matter what it takes.

Philippa, on the other hand, is determined to find a place in this world. She shields herself behind a flawless exterior and countless friends, and moves to America to escape the memory of what was.

But when Evelyn goes missing, Philippa must confront the depth of her sister’s despair and the painful truths they’ve been running from. As the weeks unfold, Philippa wonders if Ev truly did find a way home, or if the weight of their worlds pulled her under.


RATING

4 STARS

HERE’S MY REVIEW!

First and foremost I would like to say I am glad that I chose this ARC to review. I hope this book will deserve the hype as other anticipated reads of the year out there.

The first thing that brought my attention was the fact that The Chronicles of Narnia is the foundation of The Light Between Worlds. I truly enjoyed watching the movies and I guessed that this book would work for me. Fortunately, it did.

The story was beautifully written with emotional and profound themes. It was set in post-war 1940s England and a mythical woodland kingdom. The focus of the book was mainly on the aftermath of their journey in Woodlands, five years after settling back to London. The entirety of the books delved into how the three siblings had to deal with life after Woodlands. I was so emotionally attached to all of the characters thus it showed that the writing was very amazing and successfully created a universe that was mesmerizing enough for me to enjoy.

The book truly gave me an insight on how to deal with grief, guilt and build the courage to continue living. Bear in mind this book also touched on serious mental health issues such as depression that led to self-harming. You guys should not expect very much action packed episodes in this book, as it was more leading towards elements of magical realism. I also love this story because it explored family issues as well, on how consequences of certain issues would effect the family as a whole. I truly appreciate good stories with family appearances in it, as it shows that families are very much important in our lives.

The book was written in dual perspectives, both were heartwrenchingly emotional to read. The narrations were raw and honest. The additional characters were so lovely they have brought daylight and happiness to both of the main characters of the book. I would always picture Lucy and Susan Pevensie while reading the book because of the resemblance of this story to Narnia.

This book will be available in all good bookstores on November 1st 2018.

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

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Sabrina