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

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: 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

ARC Review: The Words That Fly Between Us (Sarah Carroll)

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Genre: Middle Grade
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster Children’s UK

Publication Date: 
May 2nd 2019
Format:
ARC 
Paperback
Source: 
Pansing Books
Page Count:
256

Blurb from Goodreads:

Lucy’s father is a successful lawyer making a killing on the property market. She and her mother want for nothing. Nothing, that is, that can be bought.
But money cannot buy Lucy the words she needs. The words to stand up to her bully of a father. The words to inspire her mother to do something about the family life that is suffocating them both. The words to become the person she wants to be.

Then Lucy finds something else: An escape route…
Soon she discovers that every building on her row is connected, through the attic, to the next. As she explores the inner lives of those who live on her street, Lucy realises that she is not the only one to suffer in silence. She also sees ways she can help some, and ways to punish those that deserve it.

But as the mighty fall, Lucy is forced to realise that while she can affect the lives of others from the safety of the attic, she will need to climb down to face her own fears.


RATING

4 STARS

HERE’S MY REVIEW!

I think this is the most heavy middle grade book that I have ever read. The reason I say this book is particularly heavy is because the main character has gone through such an ordeal, that she has done something that truly changes her life as a whole. Her realisation towards on what is right and what is wrong in investment is truly daunting to me that she believes that whoever who is guilty in money laundering must be punished.

Lucy is such a brave and mature main character and I am truly impressed on her mental growth and development throughout the book. She has observed such abusive relationship between her parents and she has learned that it is truly despicable to wrongly treat someone like that. I feel for her, when she feels so unhelpful and scared of her abusive parental figure. This emotional pain has made her to become someone who can stand up for her mother and doing the right thing to correct them.

I can see through the perspective of Lucy on how stressful it is to be involved in the property investment because there are many ups and downs that you have to face and not everyone can be trusted when it comes to money. Lucy is also an artist, she loves to draw and I love it when she follows her heart to do something that she dears the most.

Many thanks to Pansing Books for allowing me to review this book for them!

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Sabrina

ARC Review: Check Mates (Stewart Foster)

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Genre: Middle Grade
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster Children’s UK

Publication Date: 
June 27th 2019
Format:
ARC 
Paperback
Source: 
Pansing Books
Page Count:
345

Blurb from Goodreads:

A funny, moving and utterly original story about one boy’s struggle with dyslexia from Stewart Foster, award-winning author of THE BUBBLE BOY

My name is Felix Schopp and I am 11 years old. Some people think that I’m a problem child, that I’m lazy and never pay attention in lessons and will do anything to get out of them. And it’s true. I will. I’d rather climb a tree than do English, do the washing up instead of homework and I’ll walk anywhere than have to study a map or the bus timetable. But that’s not so bad is it? You see the thing is, I’m not a problem child at all. I’m just a child with a problem.


RATING

4 STARS

HERE’S MY REVIEW!

It has been a while since I read Middle Grade books. One of my little joys is reading them because I truly love reading about children and exploring their thinking process.

Felix, an 11-year-old boy, is an ADHD sufferer. He finds it very hard to focus in class and doing his school work. His granddad comes out with a very good plan on how to keep Felix out of trouble, and the plan is to teach him play chess. As someone who is not able to concentrate well, he hates playing it. Until one moment when he truly sits down in front of his granddad to play chess, he realises that there are many things that can be learned from chess.

I am not an avid fan or player of chess, but I do play chess with my little brother to kill some time. It is so interesting and impressive to read about the history behind chess and the strategies that we can learn to beat our opponent.

Throughout the book, I truly love the connection between Felix and his granddad that they have developed. I love how his granddad is persistent to help Felix to change. I am also impressed by Granddad’s backstory, how Cold War happened and the division of East and West Germany with the Berlin Wall.

Thank you Pansing Books for providing me this ARC!

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Sabrina

Review: City of Ghosts (Victoria Schwab)

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Blurb from Goodreads:

Cassidy Blake’s parents are The Inspecters, a (somewhat inept) ghost-hunting team. But Cass herself can REALLY see ghosts. In fact, her best friend, Jacob, just happens to be one.

When The Inspecters head to ultra-haunted Edinburgh, Scotland, for their new TV show, Cass—and Jacob—come along. In Scotland, Cass is surrounded by ghosts, not all of them friendly. Then she meets Lara, a girl who can also see the dead. But Lara tells Cassidy that as an In-betweener, their job is to send ghosts permanently beyond the Veil. Cass isn’t sure about her new mission, but she does know the sinister Red Raven haunting the city doesn’t belong in her world. Cassidy’s powers will draw her into an epic fight that stretches through the worlds of the living and the dead, in order to save herself.


RATING

4 STARS

HERE’S MY REVIEW!

I love reading Middle Grade books. Middle Grade books bring joy to me, even though they are mainly focused on children. Their perspective to the world and towards their own lives as a whole mesmerize me the most. Their capacity to enjoy and explore the world with their own developed minds makes me feel like a kid again.

I have only read Victoria Schwab’s The Savage Song, unfortunately I wasn’t a fan of it. I could not understand the story at all, the characters were so one-dimensional and uninteresting. So, when City of Ghosts comes out and I find out that it is indeed a middle grade book, I have a feeling that I must try to at least read this masterpiece.

City of Ghosts is whimsical and quirky adventure of Cass and Jacob, following their journey to Edinburgh, Scotland to hunt for ghosts. I truly love reading about how passionate Cass’ parents are in documenting their findings on their new show on paranormal matters. I also love the dynamics between Cass and Jacob, even though they are different. they are still there for one another.

To be honest, the story is kind of easy and simple to read, since it is targeted to young audiences. However, I don’t have any problems reading it and it does not stop from enjoying it. I appreciate the fact that the author puts many Harry Potter references in the book, like Hogwarts house names and the origin of Harry Potter, which is Edinburgh itself.

I am interested to read the next book!

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Sabrina