Review: A Heart So Fierce and Broken (Brigid Kemmerer)

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Genre: Children
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Publication Date: January 7th 2020
Format: Paperback
Source: Pansing Books
Page Count: 445

Blurb from Goodreads:

Find the heir, win the crown.
Win the crown, save the kingdom.

Harper has freed Prince Rhen from the curse that almost destroyed his kingdom. But all is not well; rumours are rife that there is a rival heir with a stronger claim to the throne and that ‘Princess’ Harper of Disi is nothing but a fraud.

Grey has fled the castle carrying a terrible secret. When he is discovered by soldiers and returned to Ironrose by force, Grey’s allegiances begin to shift. And as he grows closer to an enemy princess, he is forced to decide whether he will stand against Rhen for the crown he never wanted.


RATING

4.5 STARS

HERE’S MY REVIEW

Here’s my review for A Curse So Dark and Lonely.

Despite the mixed reviews, I actually loved this book.

I originally thought that this story would be about Harper and Rhen and it turned out it was not. I was also quite skeptical on what this story would offer after the conclusion of the first book. It turned out that I was truly surprised with the story as there were actually more conflicts and characters that we have yet to meet.

I read the first book back in September 2018 and I read it just in a single sitting. The story truly hooked my attention from the first page with its unique and brilliant cast and plot. Having known that there would be a sequel, I couldn’t be more happier to support this series.

A Heart So Fierce and Broken was mainly told from the perspectives of Grey and Lia Mara. My favorite characters from the series are Harper and Grey, so I was so pleased that we get to spent more time with Grey and witness his development and change from what had happened in the first book. The settings of the book for this time around was mainly outside of Ironrose Castle, so we get to see many other places, kingdoms and royals that we didn’t get to see before. What I liked about it was there was a geographical map that exhibited Emberfall showing cities and physical features. It truly helped me to read about the background and history of Emberfall.

This book was a lot different from the first one. It was certainly a dramatic shift, as if like AHSFAB was a standalone book. Firstly, the motivation of characters were different. Grey has a different plan now as he’s now the heir to the throne. We see his character development from being a guardsman to Rhen to being someone who could stop his governance. The story was very different as well as the main plot was to unite the ties between the two kingdoms in the expense of baiting Grey, the heir to the throne. So, we get to see a lot of politics in this one.

I have to applaud Brigid Kemmerer for writing a really fast paced fantasy book. The writing was brilliant and wonderful and the pacing truly kept me engaged till the end. I appreciate it when an author does not repeat points in the each chapter of a book and just relies on the reader’s intelligence and consciousness to remember the story. It shows that the author trusts us with the story.

Every great book has its weaknesses. What I didn’t like was we didn’t see much of Rhen and Harper in this book as if they were not important in this story at all. I want to read more of their point of view in this book to show that they were also involved in this story. Rhen was also so off-putting in AHSFAB, unlike himself in the first book. However, it was revealed that there was a twistier plot twist at the end of the story, so I could understand why he behaved that way. Unfortunately, the way that Rhen was written in AHSFAB seemed to assume that he was indeed the new villain in this series.

Anywho, I am still excited to read the final book. I am anxious to see where the author will lead us next. I don’t really read that much fantasy, but this series is the one of the best fantasy out there.

Special thanks to Pansing Books for sending A Heart So Fierce and Broken in exchange of an honest review.

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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.

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Sabrina

 

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: 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: The Tales of Beedle The Bard Illustrated Edition (J.K. 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! 

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Sabrina