Book Review: The Air You Breathe

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Book: The Air You Breathe

Author: Frances de Pontes Peebles

Genre: Historical Fiction

Publisher: Riverhead Books

Number of Pages: 464 pages

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Synopis PB04A

“Echoes of Elena Ferrante resound in this sumptuous saga.”–O, The Oprah Magazine

“A masterfully choreographed saga of friendship, envy, sacrifice and love–as soulful, layered, and intoxicating as the samba that reverberates from the page.” -Georgia Hunter, New York Times-bestselling author of We Were the Lucky Ones

The story of an intense female friendship fueled by affection, envy and pride–and each woman’s fear that she would be nothing without the other.

Some friendships, like romance, have the feeling of fate.

Skinny, nine-year-old orphaned Dores is working in the kitchen of a sugar plantation in 1930s Brazil when in walks a girl who changes everything. Graça, the spoiled daughter of a wealthy sugar baron, is clever, well fed, pretty, and thrillingly ill behaved. Born to wildly different worlds, Dores and Graça quickly bond over shared mischief, and then, on a deeper level, over music.

One has a voice like a songbird; the other feels melodies in her soul and composes lyrics to match. Music will become their shared passion, the source of their partnership and their rivalry, and for each, the only way out of the life to which each was born. But only one of the two is destined to be a star. Their intimate, volatile bond will determine each of their fortunes–and haunt their memories.

Traveling from Brazil’s inland sugar plantations to the rowdy streets of Rio de Janeiro’s famous Lapa neighborhood, from Los Angeles during the Golden Age of Hollywood back to the irresistible drumbeat of home, The Air You Breathe unfurls a moving portrait of a lifelong friendship–its unparalleled rewards and lasting losses–and considers what we owe to the relationships that shape our lives.

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My Summary PB04A

“When you have no power in this world you must create your own, you must adapt to your environment and try to foil the many dangers around you, so a woman’s pleasantness—her smile, her grace, her cheer, her sweetness, her perfumed body, her carefully made-up face—isn’t some silly by-product of fashions or tastes; it is a means of survival. The performance may cripple us, but it keeps us alive.”

This book is one of the reasons why I love to read historical fiction. It opened my eyes to a lot of history, most especially about Samba and Brazil. I love music but I’m not a singer, writer nor do I play any instruments. I love mostly pop songs and Christian music but I never listen to Latin music. Except of course to those famous Latin pop songs. Anyway, this book opened my eyes to the history and background of Latin music, most especially Samba. The book was so beautifully written that it motivated me to Google Latin Hollywood artists in 1930s to 1950s. And I even watched the video in YouTube of the real Brazilian Bombshell Carmen Miranda with her Tutti Frutti Hat.

The story is narrated by Dores, a poor orphan girl who grow up in the kitchen at a big house in a sugarcane plantation in Brazil which was owned by the Pimentels. But the story really became more interesting for me when Dores met Graca, the little Miss, the one and only child of a rich sugar plantation owner, Senor Pimentel. Their complicated friendship and journey takes us from Riacho Doce (the sugar plantation) to the vibrant streets of Lapa, Rio de Janeiro then to the glitz and glamour of Hollywood and later to the Casinos in Las Vegas.

It’s a poignant story of two girls who was born in a total opposite social status. Dores was a poor kitchen girl raised by Nena, a beloved cook of the Pimentel family. She’s not pretty and does not have a promising future. On the other hand, Graca was a Pimentel, beautiful and with a bright future. But their outlook in life change when one day Senhora Pimentel (Graca’s mother) took them both to a concert and discovered their love for music. The story takes more shape when they run away and bring you along their journey, struggles, quibbles, successes, jealousy, love and the beautiful music they create, with Dores’s beautiful song writing and Graca’s captivating voice and smile. I sometimes hated Graca or Sophia Salvador and her self-centeredness. I was rooting for Dores from the very beginning until the very end. Dores is not a perfect character but you can’t help being drawn to her because of what she had to go through. She’s not a damsel in distress either. She’s a strong character who fights hard for her love ones. The storyline is not unique but the way the author weaved the story and its colorful characters were so captivating that you just can’t put the book down.

The character development is definitely one of the big focuses of the story. But there’s also few references regarding politics, most especially Brazil’s relationship with the United States. And it also touches racism in Hollywood during its early days. Something that was a norm during that time and, yes, it still exists even now. It made me cringe reading about how the people with color were treated like a fad/fashion or even a joke.

This book did not make me sob nor wrench my heart but I’m definitely giving this five stars. So glad I picked this book last month in my Book of the Month subscription box. It’s definitely worth my credit.

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I’ve decided to only post twice per month so that’s it for this week, my dear readers. Please like, comment, and follow this blog for more book updates. Have a great week, everyone. And please check back in two weeks for September wrap up review.

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Book Review – Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow

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Book: Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow

Author:  Jessica Townsend

Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Number of Pages: 461 pages

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Synopis PB04A

A cursed girl escapes death and finds herself in a magical world – but is then tested beyond her wildest imagination

Morrigan Crow is cursed. Having been born on Eventide, the unluckiest day for any child to be born, she’s blamed for all local misfortunes, from hailstorms to heart attacks–and, worst of all, the curse means that Morrigan is doomed to die at midnight on her eleventh birthday.

But as Morrigan awaits her fate, a strange and remarkable man named Jupiter North appears. Chased by black-smoke hounds and shadowy hunters on horseback, he whisks her away into the safety of a secret, magical city called Nevermoor.

It’s then that Morrigan discovers Jupiter has chosen her to contend for a place in the city’s most prestigious organization: the Wundrous Society. In order to join, she must compete in four difficult and dangerous trials against hundreds of other children, each boasting an extraordinary talent that sets them apart – an extraordinary talent that Morrigan insists she does not have. To stay in the safety of Nevermoor for good, Morrigan will need to find a way to pass the tests – or she’ll have to leave the city to confront her deadly fate.

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My Summary PB04A

“People leave pieces of themselves everywhere, Morrigan — all the fights they’ve had, all the hurts they’ve suffered, the love and joy they felt, the good things and the bad things they’ve done.”

The book started with Morrigan already dead and Chancellor Corvus Crow (Morrigan’s father) announcing the death of his daughter. Then, the next chapter goes back to three days before Morrigan’s death.

Morrigan was born a cursed child since she was born during Eventide. Every child born during Eventide was considered a “curse child” and also pre-destined to die at midnight on their eleventh birthday.

But on the eve of Morrigan’s death, there was a knocked on the Crow’s door. A tall mysterious man in a stylish long blue coat with a small golden pinned on the lapel  showed up and rescued Morrigan. The name of this mysterious man is Jupiter North. Jupiter helped Morrigan escaped her death and took her to Nevermoor.

When Morrigan reached Nevermoor, she found out that she must take part in a series of trials among five hundreds contenders in order to win a place in the most prestigious society called Wundrous Society. If she fails, she will be sent back to her own world at Jakalfax where her death awaits.

My Thoughts

Okay, I’m a fan of middle grader books and the fantasy genre. I usually read this kind of books with my son. But in this case, I’m buddy reading this book with my two favorite book friends.

Yes, this book was compared to Harry Potter a lot. Although, I only find few similarities but I guess the magical aspect of it is kind of the same.

I also recognize (“recognize” spelled in American way which is ending with ize and not ise – just want to point that out ^_^) many children book tropes in this book. Tropes like: the unwanted child, high-risk trials, the hero/heroine always have someone helping them out to succeed in these trials, and the mysterious/crazy villain. 

For me, all these trope do not really affect the story.  Morrigan Crow is a dark and broody kind of a character which came from the fact that she was considered a cursed child and a child everyone feared or hated. But at the same time, it is also easy to really emphathize with Morrigan Crow after all the hardship she had been through with her own family and in her community.

The setting is definitely vivid and vibrant, most especially the Hotel Deucalion and Morringan’s  “mood changing” room. The characters are unique and very much enjoyable. I enjoyed the eccentric Jupiter North, the humor and mood swings of the big huge cat Fenestra and also Frank the vampire dwarf.

It’s a great debut book by Jessica Townsend and the only reason why I gave it four stars because I really want to know more about these two worlds she introduced. Why is there a place called Republic and why is there a Free World? Who separated this world? I hope the author  will give us more background of these two worlds in the second installment.

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That’s it for this week, my dear readers. Please like, comment, and follow this blog for more book updates. Have a great week, everyone.

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Book Review: Plain Vanilla

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Book: Plain Vanilla

Author:  Ines Bautista-Yao

Genre: YA, Romance, Contemporary

Publisher: ~~~~

Number of Pages: 55

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Synopis PB04A

Despite her quirky name and equally quirky family, 16-year-old Tempest Juan knows she’s ordinary. After reading a comment on Facebook which likened her to vanilla ice cream, Tempest decides she has to do something about it or be forever branded as plain, lukewarm, and well, vanilla. It doesn’t help that the comment was made by Paco Lorenzo, her cousin’s cute friend (no longer cute in her book!). When she happens upon a book of dares, she decides to attempt each one, no matter how hard. This is her personality at stake, after all. But somehow, Paco, the cause of all this, finds a way to be at every dare Tempest attempts, confusing her and forcing her to question what’s really going on inside her heart.

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My Summary PB04A

You have to let the energy of life flow through you. Let things happen, let the cards fall where they may. Stop trying to control everything.” 

I was looking for a short story or novella that is easy to read and that will help me clean my reading palate, before I start reading some fast pace stories or the heavy drama book I was planning to pick up next. So I’m glad I decided to try reading this ebook because it did not disappoint. It was fun and a cute story.

I love all the Filipino culture depicted in this book. Yes, I miss hearing those familiar Filipino terms/words like baon, angas, Lola, and evenYaya. It’s like walking down memory lane of my younger years. My family is not like the Juans but I always remember the parties my parents and family used to have. It was fun and, yes, the costumes and food were kinda like the Juans.

The protagonist, Tempest Juan also reminds me of a friend I used to know in high school. I’m so happy I found this author. I’m definitely reading more of her books. I’m giving this 4 stars out of 5.

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That’s it for this week, my dear readers. Please like, comment, and follow this blog for more book updates. Have a great week, everyone.

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Book Review: Crooked Kingdom

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Book: Crooked Kingdom

Author:  Leigh Bardugo

Genre: YA, fantasy

Publisher: Orion Children’s Book

Number of Pages: 536

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Synopis PB04A

“When you can’t beat the odds, change the game.”

Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn’t think they’d survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they’re right back to fighting for their lives. Double-crossed and badly weakened, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz’s cunning and test the team’s fragile loyalties. A war will be waged on the city’s dark and twisting streets―a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of the Grisha world.

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My Summary PB04A

“Crows remember human faces. They remember the people who feed them, who are kind to them. And the people who wrong them too. 

I truly enjoyed the second installment of this duology series by Leigh Bardugo. But I have to admit that it is also a book that I find extremely hard to review, because of the fact that this book has about half a dozen points of view from different characters. But Bardugo has a way of making each character fascinating that each view did not became so redundant. She has skills that kept the whole process of multiple POV more natural instead of being forced. I have read other books with tons of POV and it always comes out so contrived.

In this book, unlike the first one, the setting is mainly within the city of Ketterdam. The story picks up where it left off. Kaz and the gang came back to Ketterdam so eager to received their rewards. But instead of getting the fat reward that Jan Van Eck (the merchant who hired them) promised, they found out that Van Eck double crossed them. On top of that, he kidnapped one member of their valuable crew, holding her hostage for ransom.

The stakes just keep getting bigger in this book, plus enemies of Kaz and the gang just increased in number. It was definitely a roller coaster ride that will leave you breathless. One of the things I liked in this book is the fact that you get to know more of each characters, their emotions, fears, dreams/hopes and what they had been through.

Has she really thought the world didn’t change? She was a fool. The world was made of miracles, unexpected earthquakes, storms that came from nowhere and might reshape a continent. 

To sum it up, the book is not only about the crazy non-stop action of gun fights/acrobatics, genius schemes and revenge. It was also about family, friendship, trust/loyalty, love and camaraderie. I actually shed some few tears (don’t judge me) most especially towards the end. It definitely deserves all the accolades it got.

Although, I was craving for more, I have to admit it ended perfectly. An epic conclusion to an awesome series. I rarely give five stars and this book deserves way more.

So overall, I give this book 5 stars.

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That’s it for this week, my dear readers. Please like, comment, and follow this blog for more book updates. Have a great week, everyone.

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Book Review: To All The Boys I Loved Before

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Book: To All The Boys I loved Before

Author:  Jenny Han

Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance

Publisher: Penerbit Spring

Number of Pages: 355

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What if all the crushes you ever had found out how you felt about them… all at once? 

Sixteen-year-old Lara Jean Song keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her. They aren’t love letters that anyone else wrote for her; these are ones she’s written. One for every boy she’s ever loved—five in all. When she writes, she pours out her heart and soul and says all the things she would never say in real life, because her letters are for her eyes only. Until the day her secret letters are mailed, and suddenly, Lara Jean’s love life goes from imaginary to out of control.

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My Summary PB04A

This book got so many quotes so let me start with this one:

1.“Life doesn’t have to be so planned. Just roll with it and let it happen.”

If you are looking for something sweet with all the fuzzy feelings and cuteness, this is a book for you. I have to admit that I’m way too old for this kind of story but I need to read something that will cleanse my palate after reading a very intense book. So I gravitate to a YA romance story that are like this. Plus, this book got a good review in Goodreads and it’s going to have its own series in Netflix starting this month. So I was looking forward to read this and I was not disappointed.

The story is all about this  Korean-American highschool girl called Lara Jean. Lara Jean has many boy crushes, like typical teenage girls, and she has written love letters to all the boys she had a crush or fell in loved with. The boys she had crushes with do not know what she felt. She wrote these letters to pour out her feelings but she kept it a secret. Although, all these love letters were sealed in an envelope with address on it. She kept it hidden in a teal box that her mom (who passed away) gave her. Her dilemma started when she found out that someone took her box and mailed all five letters to all the five boys whom she had a crush on in the past. And one of the boys is her sister’s ex-boyfriend and neighbor Josh. What to do…what to do…what to do?

2. “Margot would say she belongs to herself. Kitty would say she belongs to no one. And I guess I would say I belong to my sisters and my dad, but that won’t always be true. To belong to someone—I didn’t know it, but now that I think about it, it seems like that’s all I’ve ever wanted. To really be somebody’s, and to have them be mine.” 

This book also focused on the Song’s sisterly love for each other. I never had a sister but I love how the author describes their relationship. Margot the eldest sister and Kitty the youngest were all three dimesional characters and very well developed. I do not have sisters but I do have brothers so I can easily relate to these characters.

3. “You’d rather make up a fantasy version of somebody in your head than be with a real person.”

The letters got send to five boys. The author briefly explains what happened to the three other letters and their recipients but the love interest was mainly focus between Peter and Josh. And I easily fell in love with both of these characters. The author really played on my emotions and jerked me back and forth between Peter and Josh. Although, I was pulling for Josh at first but then Peter would do something so sweet that I’d want him and Lara Jean to be together instead.

4. “Love is scary: it changes; it can go away. That’s the part of the risk. I don’t want to be scared anymore.”

This is a wonderfully sweet and coming of age story. The author perfectly captured the best of a high school life that most of us remember. Young love, crushes, and fuzzy-cute moments, jealousy, popular kids and of course fashion.

So overall, I give this book 4 stars. I can’t wait to watch the Netflix series.

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That’s it for this week, my dear readers. Please like, comment, and follow this blog for more book updates. Have a great week, everyone.

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July Book Round Up

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Wow! This month just went by really fast for me.  I was not able to read all the books I intended to read for the month of July. But I read 7 books, so that’s really a big accomplishment for me. Here are my reviews for these 7 books.

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“She wasn’t broken. She saw and interacted with the world in a different way, but that was her. She could change her actions, change her words, change her appearance, but she couldn’t change the root of herself.”

This is one of the books I picked for my June book of the month from my BOTM subscription box. I read the book synopsis before choosing this book and liked it. But what intrigues me the most was that the main character has Asperger’s syndrome or “high functioning autism”. Therefore, she does not know how to handle an intimate relationship. And French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. So after a co-worker suggested she needs practice, she came to a conclusion that she needs to hire a professional. A professional that can help her with her sex life.

This is a debut novel by Helen Hoang and it’s well written. The topic of autism, which our main heroine is going through, was definitely well researched.

I did not realize the gender-swapped “Pretty Woman” similarity until I was in the middle of the book. I admit that was a nice twist and quite refreshing. My only complaint was the fact that the ending seemed so rush.

Overall, it’s a 3.5 for me. If you want a nice romance book to read, something light and not heavy, I would highly recommend this book to you.

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And one will come to end us,
And one will bring us fall.
Let the greatest power of powers reign,
May it save us all.

The first part of this book was so Harry Potter like for me. I was a little discouraged but I decided to continue reading it, and I’m so glad I did.

The story started to get more fascinating when the dignified Baz finally showed up in Book 2. Reading Baz POV, most especially in chapter 32 changed the whole dynamic of the story for me. The story started to grow on me and I stopped comparing it to JK Rowling’s HP. Yes, Simon, Baz, Penelope, and Agatha go to a Wizard school that sounds like Hogwarts (school is called “Watford”). But that’s where the resemblance ends: “The Mage” (Davy) is definitely not Dumbledore; Baz is not Malfoy (Baz is a vampire!); Penelope is not Hermoine; Agatha is too girly to be Ron so there’s no comparison at all (LOL); and Simon is definitely not Harry Potter.

So when I finally realize that this book is not another wannabe HP book, I began to enjoy it more. And I really loved how Rainbow Rowell wrote the “spells”. The songs, rhymes, children’s rhymes or even a TV commercial jingle made into spells was unique and hilarious. My most favorite spells were: “Come out, come out, wherever you are; “Ladybird, Ladybird, fly away home…”; “Have a break, have a Kit-Kat”, “Twinkle, twinkle little star”. I giggled reading it most especially when the Mage chanted the Bohemian Rhapsody – “Carry on, carry on…”

I’ve read other books written by Ms. Rowell but I truly enjoyed this book much more. The LGBTQ reference is definitely a plus. And I love the character development of this story. Although, I kind of guessed who the real villian is (I’ve read too many thriller books) but nevertheless the plot twist and the ending was still amazing. I can’t wait to read the sequel and find out what will happen to Simon, Baz and Penelope. I rate this 4 stars.

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I have posted a review of this book so you can check it out here.

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I have posted a review of this book so you can check it out here.

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** SPOILER ALERT ** The author said this book is Black Panther but with magic. I totally disagree, the Marvel Comics’ property, Black Panther, is a story about a newly crowned king whose problems include making a decision to whether to reveal that his presently thought of third-world country for centuries to present day first world as not just equals but also vastly, technologically advanced and ruling a kingdom that is divided internally by ideology and personal affairs. The only similarity that exists between Black Panther and Children of Blood & Bone is that they are both about societies governed by philosophies and ideologies of African descent and the general populations of both are African.

CBB is a story about Zelie, who lost her mother when she was a little girl during an eradication of magical powers of all magi in their lands. This was ordered by Orisha’s evil king, Saran. Zelie met Princess Amari who decides to rebel against her father after she saw him killing her magi handmaiden and best friend. She stole the magical scroll from her father and run away. So then Zelie, Amari, her huge bull-horned lion and nonmagical older brother Tzain set out to restore the magic in their world. Zelie’s power was restored with an important person they met along the way. Zelie happens to be a reaper, power to command the spirits of the dead. They have a deadline they need to meet before it is too late to restore the magic in their world. And on top of that, they were pursued by Prince Inan. Prince Inan has his own issues: he was torn between doing the right thing and fulfilling his duty to his nation and to his father or to give in to his magical powers. Inan’s magical power is that he can read and control minds and even invade dreams, a power he knows will be his demise if his father founds out.

The book is really long (500 plus pages) and the sad thing is the fact that it is so repetitive. The novel is narrated by three characters Zelie, Amari and, Inan. What really irritates me is that they’re constantly reiterating or rehashing events that were stated or happened pages before. I decided to skim through the rest of the book after I read 66% of it.

I gave this 3 out of 5.

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My favorite quote from this book: “But Molly’s resilience, her unwillingness to submit to expectations placed upon her at the time. And her unwavering belief in herself and the girls who worked for her have taught me that if you find something you love, you fight for it with everything you’ve got. No regrets “ 

If you’re looking for a book that you can take to the beach or to the pool this summer, this book is perfect for you. It’s a perfect beach book, light and easy to read. Honestly, reading this made me want to go out and buy a pint or even a bucket of ice cream. LOL!

I picked up this book after reading a high intensity adventure fantasy. And this book was perfect, if I’m not working I would have finished reading this book in one sitting

Amelia started off her summer getting ready to be the “Head Girl” of Meade Creamery, she has been dreaming of becoming a Head Girl ever since she started working at Meade Creamery four years ago. And being a Head Girl is an honor bestowed by the owner Molly Meade to a girl she believes is worthy. Amelia is also excited to work with her best friend Cate for the last time before they head off to college. But the perfect summer Amelia dreams of started to derail when something tragic happened to Molly Meade. Then, Grady Meade, Molly’s great grand nephew took over the management of Meade Creamery. Slowly everything started to fell apart, including her friendsip with Cate. But Amelia also finds love and learned more about handling business.

I like the plot twist of this book and the little life lessons in between most especially about managing a small business. The business decisions and failures actually made the story much more realistic to me. This is the second book I read from this author and I got to admit I kinda like it.

I gave it 4 out of 5. The plot was kinda slow in the first few chapters but it picked up and loved how this book ended, definitely inspiring.

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“What most people don’t understand, is that when you’re a kid and you lose someone you love, you feel like you’ve been exiled to another planet, ~~Planet Grief~~.” 

Thanks to Library Things and Orca Books Publishing for the free paperback ARC copy in exchange for my honest review.

This book is only about 200 pages and I could have easily read it in one sitting, if I don’t have work. Anyway, this is a Middle Grader – contemporary book with two POV, Christopher and Abby.

Both Christopher and Abby lost a parent and was not really interested to go to this weekend Grief Retreat. Abby would rather go to her soccer practice and Christopher do not want to talk about his father’s death with other people. But they get to meet other kids who had gone through same lost as they have experienced. Kids like: Gustavo who had been doing this retreat for 3 years in a row and is now Eugene’s (instructor/counselor) assistant; Gustavo’s adorable younger sister Camila; quiet Antione; mysterious and gothic Felicia; and their instructor/counselor Eugene.

The story mostly revolved within this two-day retreat. The plot development, the plot twist and characters are all amazing. You can easily emphatized with these kids and admire their maturity. I have experienced a lost but not at a young age. I just wanted to reach out and hug them all. It is a poignant story and I loved how these kids learned and developed slowly as they faced and deal with their grief.

The author Monique Polak, definitely researched this topic and it is very well written. My only problem is about the Felicia part, I’m just thinking that in a retreat like this, people usually checked ID’s for security purposes so the situation regarding Felicia is kinda not plausible for me. But other than that it’s definitely a great story. I give this 4 out of 5. I definitely recommend people to buy this book when it comes out on Sept. 2018.

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That’s it for this MONTH, my dear readers. Please like, comment, and follow this blog for more book updates. Have a great week, everyone.

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Book Review: Daughter of the Siren Queen

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Book: Daughter of the Siren Queen

Author:  Tricia Levenseller

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Adventure-Pirates

Publisher: Feiwel and Friends

Number of Pages: 341

Book Synopsis:

Alosa’s mission is finally complete. Not only has she recovered all three pieces of the map to a legendary hidden treasure, but the pirates who originally took her captive are now prisoners on her ship. Still unfairly attractive and unexpectedly loyal, first mate Riden is a constant distraction, but now he’s under her orders. And she takes great comfort in knowing that the villainous Vordan will soon be facing her father’s justice.

When Vordan exposes a secret her father has kept for years, Alosa and her crew find themselves in a deadly race with the feared Pirate King. Despite the danger, Alosa knows they will recover the treasure first . . . after all, she is the daughter of the Siren Queen.

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Quotes I love from the book:

1.”Your enchantment last long after your song fades.”

2. “It’s not a question if you’ll win, I continue. The only question is whether you will choose to fight. Will you fight for your waters and treasure? Will you fight for your little ones?”

Main Characters:

Alosa – Captain of Ava-Lee, Daughter of the Pirate King and Siren Queen

Riden – Love interest of Alosa

Some of the Minor Characters:

Niridia – First mate of Ava-Lee and Alosa’s best friend

Mandsy – Healer/Meander of Ave-Lee

Kalligan – Pirate King

Ava-Lee – Siren Queen (where Alosa’s ship was named after)

Sorinda – the spy of Ava-Lee

Kearan – new recruit and love interest of Sorinda; also Sailing Navigator/Master

Enwin – also a new recruit and Kearan’s friend

Roslyn – Overlooker and youngest member of Ava-Lee

Wallov – Roslyn’s father

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Alosa was the only child and daughter of the Pirate King. She loves her father and will do anything for her him. She was dreaming of taking over her father one day and become the Pirate Queen. So after she captured the vicious villian Vordon and took the last piece of the treasure map, victorious

Alosa sailed back with her mostly women crew in Ava-lee to her father’s Keep. But then her prisoner, Vordon, revealed to her the secret that her father Kalligan had kept from her for many years. She was not sure if she’d believe Vordon or not. So when she reach the Keep she decided to find out if Vordon is telling the truth by sneeking into her father’s chamber, the chamber no one is allowed to go in. There she found the truth, and decided to steal it and sail to Isla de Canta. Alosa and her crew find themselves in a deadly race across the sea  with the feared Pirate King.

It was love and hate for me in regards to this second installment. There are times I’m so invested with this book that I can’t put it down. Then, there are times I’m just so irritated most especially in the beginning with the constant squabble between Alosa and Riden. Also that cliche denial of what they actually feel for each other when it was obvious from the beginning what they really feel.

Although, I did appreciate the character development of both Alosa and Riden. I was kind of disappointed that the author did not explore more about the background of the secondary characters like Niridia (Alosa’s first mate and best friend), Mandy (healer of the ship), Wallov (father of the 6 year old Rosalyn), Rosalyn (youngest member of Alosa’s crew). Sure, they were minor characters and not that necessary to the plot but I would have loved to know a little bit more about them than just a really brief background.

As for the the plot development and action, it was actually interesting for me. The chase across the sea, the struggles and fights are what made me continue reading this book. The strategies that Alosa came up are with so she can defeat the Pirate King was actually enjoyable. I like the fact that Alosa was so selfless and love her crew so much, losing some of her crew was like losing her own child.

So I think it was a nice conclusion for this series. Not overly amazing but it was good enough and I give this book 3.5 out of 5.

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That’s it for this week, my dear readers. Please like, comment, and follow this blog for more book updates. Have a great week, everyone.

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Book Review: “Us Against You”

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Book: Us Against You

Author: Fredrik Backman

Genre: Contemporary, Sports

Publisher: Atria Books

Number of Pages: 448

Book Synopsis:

After everything that the citizens of Beartown have gone through, they are struck yet another blow when they hear that their beloved local hockey team will soon be disbanded. What makes it worse is the obvious satisfaction that all the former Beartown players, who now play for a rival team in Hed, take in that fact. Amidst the mounting tension between the two rivals, a surprising newcomer is handpicked to be Beartown’s new hockey coach.

Soon a new team starts to take shape around Amat, the fastest player you’ll ever see; Benji, the intense lone wolf; and Vidar, a born-to-be-bad troublemaker. But bringing this team together proves to be a challenge as old bonds are broken, new ones are formed, and the enmity with Hed grows more and more acute.

As the big match approaches, the not-so-innocent pranks and incidents between the communities pile up and their mutual contempt grows deeper. By the time the last game is finally played, a resident of Beartown will be dead, and the people of both towns will be forced to wonder if, after all they’ve been through, the game they love can ever return to something simple and innocent.

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WARNING: Us Against You is a sequel to Beartown. If you have not read Beartown, please read it first before you read this review because there will be spoilers in this review.

If you’re going to ask me lately who my favorite author is, I would readily tell you Fredrick Backman.  I have read every single book he wrote and Beartown, now this one– Us Against You, are my favorite books that he wrote. If you have read his books, I bet you won’t ask me why I adore this author. But if you have not read his books, you’ll wonder why.

Why? Most of the books he wrote drive deep in your inner core and make you dig deeper into those controversial issues you want to avoid. Issues you do not want to talk about or you dread to talk about. Mr. Backman, opens the veil of your ignorance and  force you to take a peek of each character’s perspective in life, emotions, success, regrets, and even failures. How does it feel if you’re in this person’s shoes? Would you stand your ground and fight back? Or would you rather flee?

This second book, Us Against You, is a story about what happened next. What happened to this small town after their dream of winning the Hockey semi-finals were destroyed? What happened to the victims of the tragedy?

The story begins where it left off. After the big tragedy, Beartown and all of its residents are now completely divided. A family, now broken from the tragedy, decided to leave town and live in separate ways. Some BearTown players and the coach are now playing at the most hated rival team Hed Town Hockey Team (the Bulls). So the rivalry grows even bigger between Bears verses Bulls.

The characters I loved in the previous book will go through way more struggles. Their hearts will be broken and the town will be shattered. If I cried in the previous book, I cried way more harder in this second book and I’m not ashamed to admit that. This story (like the first book) will grip your heart, wrecked it and tear it into pieces. I had to take a break each time I finished reading each chapter because I have to recuperate, breathe, gulp some air, before I proceed reading.

This is a story about ice rinks and all the hearts that beat in and around them. About people and sports, how they sometimes take it in turns to carry each other. About us, dreaming and fighting. Some have fallen in love and some have been destroyed; we’ve had good days and some very bad ones. BearTown has cheered, but it has also started smolder…

This quote from the book  sums up everything. It’s a story about sports, family, friendship, love, family issues, politics, jobs, loyalty, hope and even success. It is a gut-wrenching story but it’ll also make you cheer for characters like Benji who is so strong (inspite of all he had been through) and so selfless.

Reading this book was definitely an emotional roller coaster. It makes you sob, laughed, giggle, cheer and even get inspired. I’m very stingy with my ratings but with Backman I never hesitate to give it  5 stars. Highly recommended.

 

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Alright, that’s it for this week, my dear readers. Please like, comment, and follow this blog for more book updates. Have a great week, everyone.

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My “Book of the Month” for July

 

It’s Monday again!!! So I’m back with more book hauls. Hahahaha! I know my TBR pile for July keeps on growing. I now know for sure I won’t be able to read all of these books this month.

Anyway, I was thinking of reviewing another book, but my books from my subscription box “Book of the Month” arrived this weekend. So I can’t resist taking photos of these books and blogging about it. By the way, I live in Vegas so I decided to take bookish photos of my books with the famous LV sign. Why not? Right?

So here it is…

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Laine Moriarty, the genius behind the best selling book “Big Little Lies“, absolutely loves this book. This is a love story and I was having second thoughts of picking another love story this month, because I chose a love story last month and I did not like it that much. But if an author like Ms. Moriarty recommends it, I just can’t resist. So here’s the synopsis.

Seven perfect days. Then he disappeared. A love story with a secret at its heart.

When Sarah meets Eddie, they connect instantly and fall in love. To Sarah, it seems as though her life has finally begun. And it’s mutual: It’s as though Eddie has been waiting for her, too. Sarah has never been so certain of anything. So when Eddie leaves for a long-booked vacation and promises to call from the airport, she has no cause to doubt him. But he doesn’t call.

Sarah’s friends tell her to forget about him, but she can’t. She knows something’s happened–there must be an explanation.

Minutes, days, weeks go by as Sarah becomes increasingly worried. But then she discovers she’s right. There is a reason for Eddie’s disappearance, and it’s the one thing they didn’t share with each other: the truth.

Ohhh…sound so enticing, right? And this got good ratings in Goodreads so I can’t wait to read this book (whenever that would be).

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Since, I just can’t get one book. I also decided to pick this book. A lot of people said that if you love “Game of Thrones” you need to read this one. I have not read Game of Thrones but I’m about to read it this week with a bunch of my friends from my book group. And so I added this book to my growing TBR pile.  This book’s official release is July 10 and one of the perks in having a book subscription with BOTM is the fact that you get to have books like this days in advance. Here’s the synopsis of this book:

Miryem is the daughter and granddaughter of moneylenders… but her father isn’t a very good one. Free to lend and reluctant to collect, he has loaned out most of his wife’s dowry and left the family on the edge of poverty–until Miryem steps in. Hardening her heart against her fellow villagers’ pleas, she sets out to collect what is owed–and finds herself more than up to the task. When her grandfather loans her a pouch of silver pennies, she brings it back full of gold.

But having the reputation of being able to change silver to gold can be more trouble than it’s worth–especially when her fate becomes tangled with the cold creatures that haunt the wood, and whose king has learned of her reputation and wants to exploit it for reasons Miryem cannot understand.

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And that’s all for this week, my dear readers. Please like, comment, and follow this blog for more book updates. Have a great week, everyone.

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