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

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Review: Stepsister (Jennifer Donnelly)

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Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Publisher:
Hot Key Books
Publication Date:
May 14th 2019
Format:
Paperback
Source:
Pansing Books
Page Count:
469

Blurb from Goodreads:

‘In an ancient city by the sea, three sisters – a maiden, a mother, and a crone – are drawing maps by candlelight. Sombre, with piercing grey eyes, they are the three Fates, and every map is a human life . . .’

Stepsister takes up where Cinderella’s tale ends. We meet Isabelle, the younger of Cinderella’s two stepsisters. Ella is considered beautiful; stepsister Isabelle is not. Isabelle is fearless, brave, and strong-willed. She fences better than any boy, and takes her stallion over jumps that grown men fear to attempt. It doesn’t matter, though; these qualities are not valued in a girl. Others have determined what is beautiful, and Isabelle does not fit their definition. Isabelle must face down the demons that drove her cruel treatment of Ella, challenge her own fate and maybe even redefine the very notion of beauty . . .

Cinderella is about a girl who was bullied; Stepsister is about the bully. We all root for the victims, we want to see them triumph. But what about the bullies? Is there hope for them? Can a mean girl change? Can she find her own happily ever after?


RATING

3.5 STARS

HERE’S MY REVIEW!

I have been looking forward to read this book since first time hearing about it. Especially stories with antagonists or villains as the main character since we don’t always get to read from their point of view.

However, I didn’t enjoy this book as much. Maybe because I wasn’t in the great mood to read, because I was totally into watching movies and TV shows that my reading progress was totally disturbed. The story was so long that at times I had to put it down as I was losing my interest to read about the characters. The pacing was slow and there were many filler chapters. Fortunately, after 200 pages in I started to like story because I had a better grasp of what the story wanted to tell.

I love Isabelle’s depiction in the book. She is firstly portrayed as an evil and grim character, who does all sorts of bad things just to impressed others. At some point I can relate to Isabelle, whenever she feels undervalued by people around her, just because she doesn’t have the standard looks. When things become hard, she takes the responsibility in becoming the breadwinner of the family, and she realizes that in order to be treated well by the society, she must treat others nicely. Great things will come to those who wait.

I also love the portrayal of Tavi, Isabelle’s sister in the book. She is such a nerd and a questioner. She loves learning and knowledge. She experiments about cheese just to try new things. Women during the old days didn’t get the chance to learn and go to college like men do, so it is refreshing to see the scenario in this book.

All in all, Stepsister is a unique story that is the complete opposite of pretty. “Ugly” and “Girls who don’t fit into the social norm” are the main theme of the story that compels me the most.

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

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Sabrina

ARC Review: All The Things We Never Said (Yasmin Rahman)

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Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Publisher:
Hot Key Books
Publication Date: 
July 11th 2019
Format:
ARC Paperback
Source:
Pansing Books
Page Count:
448

Blurb from Goodreads:

16-year-old Mehreen Miah’s anxiety and depression, or ‘Chaos’, as she calls it, has taken over her life, to the point where she can’t bear it any more. So she joins MementoMori, a website that matches people with partners and allocates them a date and method of death, ‘the pact’. Mehreen is paired with Cara Saunders and Olivia Castleton, two strangers dealing with their own serious issues.

As they secretly meet over the coming days, Mehreen develops a strong bond with Cara and Olivia, the only people who seem to understand what she’s going through. But ironically, the thing that brought them together to commit suicide has also created a mutually supportive friendship that makes them realise that, with the right help, life is worth living. It’s not long before all three want out of the pact. But in a terrifying twist of fate, the website won’t let them stop, and an increasingly sinister game begins, with MementoMori playing the girls off against each other.

A pact is a pact, after all.

In this powerful debut written in three points of view, Yasmin Rahman has created a moving, poignant novel celebrating life. ALL THE THINGS WE NEVER SAID is about friendship, strength and survival.


RATING

5 STARS

HERE’S MY REVIEW!

Wow, this year is truly a good year for diverse and mental health young adult books! First, The Weight of Our Sky by Hanna Alkaf is truly a masterpiece, and then comes All The Things We Never Said, this indeed blows my mind!

Why am I saying that this book is a masterpiece? This book revolves around three awesome and relatable characters who share their own journey on fighting their mental health issues until their destiny intertwines by a website, they finally meet with each other. We don’t always get to see mental health books with multiple POVs, and that makes the story even reachable and profound at the same time. This book is a page-turner, once I start, I cannot stop reading it. Their lives are so interesting, I love reading about how they interpret and discover their own self while facing their mental illnesses.

They have their own struggles that they face and when they become friends, they share their feelings and problems with people who are in their shoes, the ones who can truly understand themselves. Even though they come from various races, religion and sexual orientation, they are able to support each other very well.

This stunning UKYA debut is totally a book you don’t want to miss reading this year!

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

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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!

X

Sabrina

Review: Children of Blood and Bone (Tomi Adeyemi)

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Blurb from Goodreads:

Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut Children of Blood and Bone.

They killed my mother.
They took our magic.
They tried to bury us.
Now we rise.

Zelie remembers when the soil of Orisha hummed with magic. When different clans ruled – Burners igniting flames, Tiders beckoning waves, and Zelie’s Reaper mother summoning forth souls.

But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, anyone with powers was targeted and killed, leaving Zelie without a mother and her people without hope. Only a few people remain with the power to use magic, and they must remain hidden.

Zelie is one such person. Now she has a chance to bring back magic to her people and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zelie must learn to harness her powers and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.

Danger lurks in Orisha, where strange creatures prowl, and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zelie herself as she struggles to come to terms with the strength of her magic – and her growing feelings for an enemy.

The movie of Children of Blood and Bone is in development at Fox 2000/Temple Hill Productions with the incredible Karen Rosenfelt and Wyck Godfrey (Twilight, Maze Runner, The Fault In Our Stars) producing it.


RATING

4 STARS

HERE’S MY REVIEW!

This book is such a ride. I don’t know what to expect going through the book, so I put my expectations lower despite the great hype from the bookish community. I am not sure why, but when I read something that is totally loved and has extensive promotion by the community, somehow I would not be able to enjoy it as much as other people do. Don’t get me wrong, I love the story, but the pacing seems very slow during the first hundred pages and that makes me so unmotivated to continue. That is why I take so long to finish it.

Apart from that, all is good! Children of Blood and Bone is a West-African inspired fantasy set in Orïsha. Their life revolves around magic, and magic has to be restored to the people as it has been taken away by the King because it has been seen as a thread to the royalty.

Tomi Adeyemi’s intricate world-building needs to be praised. The world is so unique, the people and the culture in this book is so well-crafted to read as well. After the hundred pages, I am so intrigued to read it as it becomes so good that there are many revelations and plot twists revealed.

I love the character contrast between the main character, Zélie, with her determination to help her people restore magic to the land, and also Inan, the prince of Orïsha, who is also determined to finish his father’s will to destroy magic to the world. In the book, somehow their fate intertwine with each other, something happens and later it becomes complicated for both of them. I am excited to read their journey in the next book, because the ending is such a cliffhanger and many things are unresolved with the characters’ wellbeing.

I NEED THE SECOND BOOK NOW THANKS!

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Sabrina